Described as polite, respectful and quiet, suspected Chardon High School shooter TJ Lane opened fired in the school’s cafeteria on Feb. 27, 2012, killing three students and injuring three others.
Even in the moments just before the shooting, students noticed his calm demeanor.
“I smiled at him, and it was just like a nod to me,” said Chardon student Lexi Joy. Joy said she smiled again at Lane during their short exchange in the hallway that morning. She called it “just a normal thing.”
“He didn’t seem any different. He seemed just how he would be on a normal day. He didn’t show any expression on his face. He was just TJ,” Joy said. Minutes later, shots were fired inside the school’s cafeteria.
Lane, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, had a troubled family life. In 2002, his father, Thomas M. Lane Jr. was indicted for felonious assault, kidnapping and disrupting public service. Lane Jr. has also been charged with attempted murder.
From the time he was 5, Lane lived with his grandparents, Jack and Carol Nolan, his sister and half-brother.
"You can't describe any better people than Jack and Carol," said neighbor Russ Miller. "Good people, good Christian values, they opened their home up to raise these grandchildren."
"I watched him grow up," Miller said. "Easy-going boy, always had half smile on his face... He was never a problem.” He said the teen was an “A” or “B” student, who was on track to graduate early.
Miller said Lane attended Lake Academy in Willoughby because he was having problems at Chardon. He was waiting for a bus to the technical school when he allegedly shot and killed three teens at Chardon High School.
“Unfortunately, at the end of the day someone, now three people have passed, and some others were injured, but this was the effect of one lone gunman,” said then-Geauga County Prosecutor David Joyce. “He chose his victims at random. This is not about bullying. This is not about drugs. This is someone who is not well… We’ll make sure justice is done in this county.”
“He was just a person that like wanted to hide himself and keep all of his emotions in. And he was doing what he wanted to do: Hiding his emotions,” said Lane’s friend Jonathan Donato. “They built up and they built up inside of him, and they came out in a way that nobody would expect.”
“It’s just amazing what some people have hiding inside of them,” Donato said.
Attorney Robert N. Farinacci released the following statement following Lane’s arrest:
"The family is devastated by this recent event. They want to express their most heartfelt and sincere condolences to the family of the young man who passed and their continuing prayers are with all those who were injured.
"This is something that could never have been predicted."
Chardon HS Shooting
Family members submitted photos of Chardon High School shooting victims Demetrius Hewlin and Russell King Jr. growing up.
The family of Chardon High School shooting victim Danny Parmertor released these photos of him at a news conference Thursday.