Ohio School Shooting: Facts
T.J. Lane posted a self-written parable to his Facebook page two months before he took a gun to school and opened fire, shooting six people and killing three. His story was about a friendless and lonely man wandering the streets, filled with contempt for those around him. The man is likened to both God and to death, and the last line is chilling:
Now! Feel death, not just mocking you. Not just stalking you but inside of you. Wriggle and writhe. Feel smaller beneath my might. Seizure in the Pestilence that is my scythe. Die, all of you.
This story has lead many to suspect that Lane’s motive in the killings was to get back at those who bullied him. Eyewitnesses said he targeted one specific group of kids when he began shooting — a group of students who took the bus to an alternative high school with him every day. However, the prosecution is not using bullying as their principal motive for the killing, and some students have described Lane as an ordinary kid who was not bullied.
At 7:30 am on Monday, February 27, T.J. Lane came to school with a .22 caliber handgun and shot off ten rounds of ammunition in the cafeteria, just as school was starting. Six people were wounded, and three died from their injuries. T.J. Lane ran out of the school, chased by a teacher, and was soon apprehended by police and arrested.
One of the deputies investigating the case interviewed T.J. Lane but was unable to come up with an explanation for the rampage. According to the sheriff’s deputy, Lane said he “didn’t know” what his motive for the killing was. He said he had no idea how many he shot. He told the sheriff’s deputy that he wasn’t using drugs.
Lane’s attorneys will use this conversation as proof that Lane was in the midst of some kind of psychotic break, because he could not clearly recall what he was doing or why.
The suburban community of Chardon was devastated by the violence. The flag was flown at half-mast, and school was closed. Memorials to the victims were set up and soon filled with flowers and candles.
Lane was tried as an adult and plead guilty in February, 2013, to three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder, and one count of felonious assault.
Geauga County Common Pleas Judge David Fuhry sentenced Lane on March 19, 2013, to three life sentences without the possibility of parole plus an additional 27 years for attempted murder, felonious assault, and using weapons in the crimes.
Although there was no trial, the sentencing hearing had its share of drama including several outbursts from the convicted teen. Lane wore a T-shirt with “killer” scrawled across it, gave the middle finger to victim’s families, cursed at them, and then told them “The hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory.”