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A student gunman opened fire with a handgun in the cafeteria of a high school near Cleveland on Monday, fatally wounding one boy and injuring three other boys and one girl before he was chased from the building by a teacher and gave himself up, police said.
The injured students were rushed to area hospitals where a boy identified as Daniel Parmentor, 17, died at MetroHealth System in Cleveland. Parmentor, a high school junior, went to a nearby vocational school where he studied computer science, and was waiting in the cafeteria for a bus when the gunman opened fire.
“We are shocked by this senseless tragedy,” said a statement from Parmentor’s family, provided by MetroHealth. “Danny was a bright young boy who had a bright future ahead of him. The family is torn by this loss. We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
The Ohio shooting is the worst at a U.S. high school in 11 months and the worst in Ohio since late 2007, according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
One of four other victims was in critical condition at MetroHealth and was undergoing surgery, according to Auburn School Superintendent Maggie Lynch. A 17-year-old boy was in serious condition and an 18-year-old girl was stable at Hillcrest Hospital in suburban Cleveland, a spokeswoman said. The condition of the fourth injured student was not known.
A Chardon High School student, Danielle Samples, 16, who was in the cafeteria at the time of the shooting, told Reuters she heard a series of “pops” and someone yelled to run down the hallway into a classroom. While Samples was in the hall, she heard another round of pops.
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Samples said of the experience. “It’s very surreal.”
She said the shooter was not a Chardon student, but a student at Lake Academy in Willoughby, which serves at-risk students. He was at Chardon waiting for a bus. She said the student lived with his grandparents and sister.
“He’s quiet,” Samples said.
A representative of Lake Academy said the incident was being investigated and would not comment or give her name.
Police have not formally identified the gunman, but students, parents of students and local media said his name was T.J. Lane. By early afternoon, police and FBI had surrounded a brown house on Wilder Road in a rural, wooded area of Chardon identified in public records as belonging to Thomas Lane. A canine unit was brought into the house.
Investigators are also searching in the woods around the property.
After the shooting, emergency vehicles rushed to the high school, where solemn-looking students streamed from the building to meet parents. The entire school district was closed for the day.
“The remainder of our students are safe, home with their parents,” said an emotional Joseph Bergant, superintendent of Chardon schools. He praised the actions of teachers, who had been through disaster training and acted quickly to protect the students. The teacher who chased the gunman from the school was not identified.
The school some of the injured students attended is Auburn Career Academy, a vocational school with 700 juniors and seniors taken from 11 surrounding school districts including Chardon, e Lynch said.
The mother of a student in Chardon, who asked not to be identified, said her son knew the alleged gunman.
“My son’s reaction was ‘this doesn’t surprise me.’ T.J. was a nice sweet kid who was misunderstood and he probably cracked from being different,” she said.
The deadliest school shooting in the United States was the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech University that left 33 people dead. The worst high school shooting was the 1999 attack at Columbine High School in Colorado that killed 12 students and a teacher.