CHARDON, Ohio — The shooting rampage in a high school in this quiet suburb of Cleveland remained a puzzle Tuesday, with prosecutors saying that the student who confessed to the killing told them he didn't know his victims and chose them at random.
Prosecutors said T.J. Lane, 17, admitted to taking a .22-caliber Ruger semiautomatic pistol to Chardon High School on Monday and firing 10 rounds at four students sitting at a cafeteria table. He has not been formally charged, but prosecutors said it was likely that he would be tried in an adult court.
Three of his victims — Russell King Jr., Demetrius Hewlin and Daniel Parmertor — died from their wounds. Two others were wounded. One has been released from the hospital.
Lane appeared in court for the first time Tuesday, wincing as the prosecutors read the allegations against him. He sat in a wooden chair with his back straight, speaking in barely audible tones to the judge, Timothy Grendell, in Geauga County juvenile court. His face crumpled briefly into tears as he was led away, and he appeared to whisper the words, "I am so sorry," to his grandfather, Jack Nolan, also his legal guardian, who was sitting near him, and two aunts.
The police have until Thursday to charge Lane.
The day brought more questions than answers to this town of 5,000 east of Cleveland. Lane is a sophomore at Lake Academy, an alternative high school for at-risk youth. Students interviewed there and at Chardon High described him as quiet but friendly.
While Lane's attorney said he had had no prior trouble with the law, Lane's father, Thomas Lane, has a court record that includes prison time. In 2002, he was arrested on charges of attempted murder, and a restraining order was imposed forbidding him to contact his former wife, court records show. He served nine months of a four-year sentence and was released in June 2003.