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High school shooting in Ohio leaves 1 dead

(Xinhua)

10:37, February 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- A teen gunman on Monday opened fire at the cafeteria of Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio, U.S. , killing one student while injuring four others.

The shooter, identified by local paper Cleveland Plain Dealer as student TJ Lane, allegedly brought a .22-caliber handgun into the school cafeteria, and started shooting just after 7:30 a.m. He hit five students at three locations on school campus, about 30 miles east of Cleveland.

As the shooting unfolded, a brave teacher chased the shooter out of the school with about 1,100 students, and the police, who responded to the scene, locked down the campus while students barricaded themselves inside classrooms.

The authorities used K-9 units to track down the gunman, who was found about a half mile from the school, not far from his car. He had the gun and a knife with him at the time of the arrest.

In a statement, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praised the brave teacher by saying "if it were not for the extraordinary courage of a teacher who chased the shooter out of the school, and if not for the speedy reaction of school leaders, the toll of these shootings could have been even worse."

The statement called the shooting "an unspeakable tragedy," but said it's still "too early to know yet why a student took a firearm to school and shot his classmates."

Chardon Police Chief Tim McKenna said that the police is still investigating the shooting. He said that the investigation is likely going to be very long, as authorities have to conduct hundreds of interviews and listen to hours of 911 calls regarding the shooting.

While authorities declined to speculate the motive behind the attack, local media quoted Lane's classmates describing him as an "outcast" who has apparently been bullied. He also tweeted he would bring a gun to school, but nobody took him seriously. There were also reports saying he targeted a specific table at the cafeteria.

TOLL OF THE ATTACK

After the shooting, three of the victims were taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland by Metro LifeFlight. Two of the victims were taken to Cleveland Clinic's Hillcrest Hospital. At an afternoon news conference, McKenna said that one of the victims, 16-year-old Daniel Parmertor, had died.

According to Hillcrest, the victims being treated there are a 17-year-old boy who is listed in serious condition and an 18-year- old girl listed in stable condition. McKenna said that the other two victims were both in critical condition.

In a statement, Parmertor's family described the deceased as "a bright young boy who had a bright future ahead of him."

"The family is torn by this loss." said the statement, asking the family's privacy be respected.

The shooting cast a gloomy spell on Chardon, a city of about 5, 100 resident. All classes in schools across the district had been canceled for the rest of the day, while students were evacuated from the school. Later, authorities also canceled classes for Tuesday. Grief counselors were on hand for students at Chardon Middle School. Vigils were planned for the evening.

After the shooting, Ohio Governor John Kasich issued a statement, offering prayers and praised the law enforcement officers. He also pledged the state's "full support" in the aftermath.

The deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history occurred in 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado, where two senior students killed 12 students and one teacher. The pair then committed suicide.

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