Students at Ohio's Chardon High School are remembering 17-year-old Russell King Jr., who has been declared brain dead, and 16-year-old Daniel Parmertor, who was killed in a school shooting Monday.
Later on Tuesday, another student, junior Demetrius Hewlin, who was initially left in critical condition, also died from injuries sustained in the Monday shooting.Video: Teen declared brain dead after school shooting (on this page)
TJ Lane, who attended a nearby vocational school, allegedly opened fire Monday morning in the cafeteria of Chardon High. Two other students — senior Joy Rickers, 18, and junior Nick Walczak, 17 — were wounded. Another student, Nate Mueller, had his right ear grazed by a bullet during the attack.
Chardon student Ian Sanborn, who was sitting at the tables where the shooting occurred, appeared on TODAY Tuesday with fellow student Travis Carver, who rushed to the aid of injured students. Sanborn, who has known King since kindergarten, told TODAY’s Ann Curry about his friend.
“(King) was never out to harm anybody,’’ Sanborn said. “He was always real nice. He would always ask everybody if they needed help with anything. He would always take the shirt off his back to help anyone out, and it’s just tragic that something like this had to happen to him."
Video: Survivor: Shooter had look of ‘determination’ (on this page)
Senior Mike Wargo had just walked away from the lunchroom table when he heard what sounded like a firecracker. He received a text message telling him one of his best friends had been shot.
“It’s just a nightmare I’m waiting to wake up from and it’s not going to happen,’’ he told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie in an emotional interview. “I hope nobody ever has to experience this. I feel this way, (so) I can’t even imagine what the parents feel.
“I wish I was there. I’d rather take the bullet for one of those five. They had the biggest hearts. I know they would be saying the same exact thing about anyone else. They would do anything for anybody. Everybody misses them.’’
Sanborn and Carver described a chilling scene in the cafeteria. Lane, who usually took the bus from Chardon to his nearby alternative school, can be seen on a school surveillance video seemingly targeting a specific table. Report: Suspect in Ohio shooting from violent family
“I saw him pull out the gun and I yelled ‘Duck!’ and I was the only one who ducked under my table,’’ Sanborn said. “All my friends just kind of stood around there. I remember him firing him off all of his shots and then standing up and seeing my friends just laying on the ground.
“I didn’t know what to do. I was in panic mode, so I just ran outside and I talked to an operator on 911, (and) tried to get as much help as I could.’’
Witnesses said Lane was emotionless as he emptied a round of bullets. He was chased outside by assistant football coach and teacher Frank Hall before surrendering to police.
“It was straight determination,’’ Carver said of Lane. “He just had that look on his face. It’s hard to describe. It just sticks with you.’’ Slideshow: Deadly school shooting in Ohio (on this page)
Carver, who has trained with the fire department, is being hailed as a hero for tending to wounded students before emergency medical professionals arrived.
“After the first shot, it was probably a couple seconds, it just seemed quiet,’’ Carver said. “I’m sure it was just what was going on in my head, but it gave me a second to think. It was the fight or flight response. I took a second, I saw one girl running towards me, and I decided I should run with her.’’
The grieving community and Lane’s family are searching for answers to what may have motivated the shootings. In December, he ended a long and rambling Facebook post, written in the third person, with “Die all of you.’’
His father, Thomas Lane Jr., had been arrested several times for abusing the mothers of his children, according to a report by The Cleveland Plain-Dealer. TJ Lane lived with his grandmother. One of his classmates at the vocational school, Hayley Kovacik, spoke with Ann Curry Tuesday.
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“He would never really talk about his family,’’ Kovacik said. “He was just honestly really quiet, but you could always tell he had a very sad look in his eyes all the time. He usually just kept to himself. I’m just really shocked that it was TJ.’’
“By all accounts TJ was a very quiet and good kid,’’ Lane family attorney Bob Farniacci told NBC News. “Pretty much sticks to his himself, but does have some friends and has never been in trouble.’’
Lane is expected to be arraigned in juvenile court on Tuesday and is reportedly in solitary confinement.
“We are shocked by this senseless tragedy,’’ Parmertor's parents said in a statement. A candlelight vigil was held Monday night for the victims.
Sanborn described his coping strategy. “I think everybody in the community needs to not talk about it so much and kind of let it just die down,’’ he said. “As far as just letting it fall apart, you need to just let it go, and everyone needs to accept the fact that life threw this at us, and we just have to deal with it. We have to make the best of it.’’
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