US school shooting death toll rises

Prosecutors say 17-year-old boy has said he opened fire on fellow students at random as the death toll climbs to three.

    Federal agents stand outside the residence of TJ Lane, the teenager held for the rampage [Reuters]
    Federal agents stand outside the residence of TJ Lane, the teenager held for the rampage [Reuters]

    The 17-year-old boy held in a shooting rampage at an Ohio high school has confessed to opening fire on fellow students  at random as two more teenagers died, bringing the death toll to three.

    Prosecutors identified the shooter as TJ Lane and said he has admitted to taking a knife and a .22-caliber pistol into the cafeteria at Chardon High School in a town 56km east of Cleveland on Monday and firing 10 rounds.

    Students Demetrius Hewlin and Russell King Jr., 17, were both declared dead on Tuesday from wounds suffered in the incident, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office. Another student, Daniel Parmertor, 16, died on Monday.

    Prosecutors told a judge in Geauga County Juvenile Court that Lane told them he had selected his victims randomly.

    In his court appearance, Lane was ordered held in detention pending the filing of formal charges. The judge gave prosecutors until Thursday to file charges.

    One student remained hospitalised with wounds from the attack while another was released from a hospital as the town prepared to hold a vigil to honour the victims later on Tuesday. At the high school, students spent the day huddling, talking and placing red ribbons around the grounds.

    The incident marked the latest shooting at a US educational institution. The deadliest such incident 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.

    Chardon, the seat of Geauga County, is a semi-rural, affluent town with a population of about 5,000, according to the US Census Bureau.

    'Good kid'

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

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

    Tim McKenna, Chardon police chief, did not disclose a motive for the shooting. Fellow students told local media the suspect was a loner who may have been bullied.

    The Lane family's lawyer described the suspect as a "good kid" who had never been in trouble and had impressive grades.

    "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," Bob Farinacci said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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