Death toll rises in Ohio school shooting

A student places a bouquet of roses at the base of the Chardon High School sign in Chardon, Ohio...
A student places a bouquet of roses at the base of the Chardon High School sign in Chardon, Ohio after a fatal shooting rampage at the school. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk

Another student has died from wounds sustained in Monday's shooting rampage at an Ohio high school, authorities say, as the shaken suburban Cleveland town prepared for a vigil for the teenage victims of the attack.

Student Demetrius Hewlin was declared dead on Tuesday morning (local time), a spokesman at a local hospital said. With the death of Hewlin, two students are now dead, another one has been listed as brain dead and two remained hospitalized from gunshot wounds sustained in the attack at Chardon High School east of Cleveland.

The suspect being held in the shootings is also a student.

Daniel Parmertor, 16, was declared dead on Monday, while 17-year-old Russell King was declared brain dead on Tuesday. King still has a heart beat, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office.

Authorities said the suspect in the shootings will appear later on Tuesday for a hearing at Geauga County Juvenile Court.

A vigil in the town was planned for Tuesday night.

The incident is the latest shooting at a US school. The deadliest school shooting in the United States was a 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech University that left 33 people dead. The deadliest high school shooting claimed 12 students and a teacher in 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado.

King, Parmertor and Hewlin were taken to MetroHealth Medical Center after the shooting.

King had no brain activity when he arrived at the hospital and was declared brain dead, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office administrator Hugh Shannon said.

MetroHealth released a statement on Tuesday confirming the death of Hewlin, whose family released a statement.

"Demetrius was a happy young man who loved life and his family and friends," the statement read. "We will miss him very much but we are proud that he will be able to help others through organ donation."

A 17-year-old male was in serious condition and an 18-year-old woman was stable at Hillcrest Hospital in suburban Cleveland, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Police have not formally identified the suspected gunman. But students, parents of students and local media identified him as T.J. Lane, a student at a school for at-risk youth whose family said they were in shock over the events and asked for privacy. Lane was not immediately charged.

"The family wanted me to convey to the citizens of Geauga County and Northeastern Ohio that the family is devastated by this most recent event," the Lane family's lawyer Bob Farinacci told local WKYC news.

"This is something that could never have been predicted. T.J.'s family has asked for some privacy while they try to understand how such a tragedy could have occurred and while they mourn this terrible loss for their community."

The school district was closed on Monday and will not reopen fully for classes until Friday as the community grapples with the violence and waits for word on the wounded students.

Faculty and staff will return on Wednesday for meetings, and parents and students together on Thursday, Chardon schools Superintendent Joseph Bergant told a news conference on Tuesday.

On Monday, Bergant praised the actions of teachers, who he said had acted quickly to protect the students.

Chardon Police Chief Tim McKenna did not disclose a motive on Tuesday morning for the shooting, which happened Monday while students were studying and eating breakfast.

Fellow students told local media the suspect was a loner who may have been bullied. Some witnesses told local media he appeared to deliberately target a table where a student who had started dating his former girlfriend was seated with friends.

The Lane family's lawyer described the suspected shooter as a "good kid" who had never been in trouble.

"His grades are pretty impressive. ... He's a sophomore. He's been doubling up on his classes with the intent of graduating this May. He pretty much sticks to himself but does have some friends and has never been in trouble over anything that we know about," Farinacci said.

Chardon, the seat of Geauga county, is a semi-rural, affluent town about 56km from Cleveland with a population of about 5,000, according to the U.S. Census.


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