A high school student was killed and two others were in critical condition after they were shot inside a suburban Cleveland high school on Monday morning.
Two others who were shot were in serious and stable conditions, respectively, police said. The alleged gunman, whom the FBI identified as TJ Lane, 16, was taken into custody when he was caught a short distance away from the school.
A student who witnessed the attack close-up said it appeared the gunman was targeting a group of students sitting at a cafeteria table and that the one who was killed was trying to duck under the table.
Panicked students screamed and ran through the halls after the gunfire broke out at the start of the school day at 1,100-student Chardon High, about 30 miles from Cleveland.
Police said that they received the first 911 call from the school at 7:38 a.m.
Lane was arrested near his car a half-mile away, the FBI said. He was not immediately charged. The Geauga County Sheriff's Office said that the suspect turned himself in after being chased out of the school by a teacher, CBS News reported.
One teacher was said to have dragged a wounded student into his classroom for protection.
FBI officials would not comment on a motive. But 15-year-old Danny Komertz, who witnessed the shooting, said Lane was known as an outcast who had apparently been bullied.
"I looked up and this kid was pointing a gun about 10 feet away from me to a group of four kids sitting at a table," Komertz said. He said the gunman fired two shots quickly, and students scrambled for safety. One of them "was kind of like hiding, trying to get underneath the table, trying to hide, protecting his face."
Police and a Cleveland hospital identified the slain student as Daniel Parmertor, an aspiring computer repairman who was shot while waiting for the bus for his daily 15-minute ride to a vocational center.
"We are shocked by this senseless tragedy," his family said in a statement. "Danny was a bright young boy who had a bright future ahead of him."
Parmertor's teacher at Auburn Career School had no idea why Parmertor, "a very good young man, very quiet," had been targeted, said Auburn superintendent Maggie Lynch.
Parents thronged the streets around the school as they heard from students via text message and cellphone long before official word came of the attack.
Officers investigating the shooting later blocked off a road in a heavily wooded area several miles from the school. Federal agents patrolled the muddy driveway leading to several spacious homes and ponds, while other officers walked a snowy hillside. A police dog was brought in. It wasn't clear what they were looking for.
Teacher Joe Ricci had just begun class when he heard shots and slammed the door to his classroom, yelling, "Lock down!" to students, according to Karli Sensibello, a student whose sister was in Ricci's classroom.
A few minutes later, Ricci heard a student moaning outside, opened the door and pulled in student Nick Walczak who had been shot several times, Sensibello said in an email. Ricci comforted Walczak and let him use his cellphone to call his girlfriend and parents, Sensibello said. She said her sister was too upset to talk.
Walczak and two other wounded boys were also students at Auburn Career School, the superintendent said.
Student Haley Tierney said that her teacher jumped to action.
“Our teacher grabbed a bulletproof vest and a hammer and brought the kid to our room,” Tierney said. “He made sure everyone was OK. He was amazing.”
Heather Ziska, 17, said she was in the cafeteria when she saw a boy she recognized as a fellow student come into the cafeteria and start shooting. She said she and several others immediately ran outside, while other friends ran into a middle school and others locked themselves in a teachers' lounge.
"Everybody just started running," said 17-year-old Megan Hennessy, who was in class when she heard loud noises. "Everyone was running and screaming down the hallway."
Rebecca Moser, 17, had just settled into her chemistry class when the school went into lockdown. The class of about 25 students ducked behind the lab tables at the back of the classroom, uncertain whether it was a drill.
Text messages started flying inside and outside the school, spreading information about what was happening and what friends and family were hearing outside the building.
"We all have cellphones, so people were constantly giving people updates - about what was going on, who the victims were, how they were doing," Moser said.
The school had no metal detectors, but current and past students said it had frequent security drills in case of a shooting.
Parent Jennifer Restly said that the school needed more security, 10TV’s Chuck Strickler reported.
“I think metal detectors should be put in every school,” Restly said.
Anxious parents of high school students were told to go to an elementary school to pick up their children.
The district canceled classes for Tuesday.
Chardon is a town of about 5,100 people.
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