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Sketchy reports emerge on alleged high school gunman

In rare situations, students who are isolated from their peers, and lose interest in activities they used to like doing, can sometimes become violent. NBC's Chris Jansing reports.

A student who was nicked in the ear Monday during a shooting in a high school cafeteria in Chardon, Ohio, has identified the teen gunman as a fellow student who had “got into a gothic phase” in recent years.

Nate Mueller, a student at Chardon High School, told NBC affiliate WKYC.com that he was sitting in the cafeteria at a table with three of the victims and was grazed in the ear by one of the bullets as he turned away from the gunman. He said he was friends with the suspect until the end of eighth grade.

“He kind of got into the gothic phase and kind of silenced himself from his friends,” Mueller said. “But I mean, he still had friends. He was still a nice kid … I don’t think anybody really ever expected it to be him. We didn’t think he would hurt anybody.”

Police have not formally identified the gunman, who is a juvenile, but students, parents of students and local media said his name was T.J. Lane, which was confirmed by NBC News.


Other students and a parent, reacting to reports identifying the alleged shooter, described him as an “outcast,” a victim of bullying and being from a "broken home."

“He was not like a jock, a popular kid,"’ Evan Erasmus, an 18-year-old high school senior, told Channel 5. “He has friends, but he would be considered the outcast type."

Official: 1 dead, 4 wounded in Ohio school shooting

In a separate interview with CNN, Erasmus said, “He just came from a really broken down home and he was living with his grandparents. He was more of a quiet type of kid. He was really nice, though, if you did talk to him.”

Mueller, the student who was in the cafeteria when the gunfire erupted, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that one of the friends he was sitting with was dating the suspect's ex-girlfriend.

Another student, freshman Danny Komertz, told The Associated Press that the gunman was an outcast who had been apparently bullied.

Greg Fletcher, a parent who said his son, a 10th grader, was about 15 feet from the shooter in the cafeteria, told Fox8.com that his son did not know the suspect but other students had told him he was “kind of shady and possibly suicidal.”

Terrified students turned to social media to console one another and find out more information. NBC's Kevin Tibbles reports.

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