CHARDON, Ohio >> Students mourning the deaths of three teens in a shooting at an Ohio high school returned to class Friday, a day after charges were filed in juvenile court against the 17-year-old suspect.
Police were on hand as students arrived under cloudy skies by car, on foot and by school bus at 1,100-student Chardon High School, about 30 miles east of Cleveland, which resumed classes following Monday’s shooting. Some students and parents stood outside applauding as students walked inside.
Charges filed Thursday in juvenile court accuse T.J. Lane of killing three students and wounding two others in the shooting Monday morning. He’s charged with three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault.
Lane, who attends an alternative school for students who haven’t done well in traditional schools, admitted taking a .22-caliber pistol and a knife to Chardon High and firing 10 shots at a group of students sitting at a cafeteria table, prosecutor David Joyce said.
No motive has been determined. Joyce has said that victims were selected randomly and called Lane someone "who’s not well."
Children convicted of juvenile crimes in Ohio are typically behind bars only until they turn 21 in the most serious cases. But Joyce has said he plans to charge Lane as an adult, meaning he could face life in prison without parole if convicted of similar adult charges. Minors are not eligible for the death penalty in Ohio.
Lane’s attorney, Robert Farinacci, could not be reached for comment on the charges. A message was left at his office.
Earlier Thursday, students had gathered around a courthouse square gazebo, quietly singing their alma mater before marching by the hundreds to their reopened school, holding hands and linking arms.
"I’m just scared for everybody, and I don’t know how everybody is going to act going back into school," said freshman Theodore Rosch, 16.
Friday also marked the start of a series of memorial services for the slain students. A visitation was scheduled Friday in Eastlake for 16-year-old Daniel Parmertor, and his funeral Mass is Saturday morning.
Visitation is Monday evening in Chardon for 16-year-old Demetrius Hewlin, and his funeral Mass is Tuesday morning. Visitation for 17-year-old Russell King Jr. will be Wednesday, with a funeral the next morning in Chardon.
Hewlin attended Chardon High. King and Parmertor were vocational school students, waiting in the Chardon High cafeteria for their daily bus when they were shot.
One student who was hurt remains in serious condition, and another was released from the hospital.
The assistant football coach credited with chasing the gunman from the school said Thursday that he wanted the victims’ families to know he had tried to comfort the children.
"I prayed with them. I wiped their tears and I know God was with them," an emotional Frank Hall said.
The motive for the shooting is unclear, though the prosecutor appeared to rule out theories involving bullying or drug-dealing.
Lane was a normal boy who excelled in school and played outside often with his sister, building snow hills and skateboarding, according to Steve Sawczak, a family friend who’s a pastor and has worked with troubled children.
Associated Press writers Kantele Franko and Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus and Ted Shaffrey in Chardon and AP photographer Tony Dejak also contributed to this report.