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Report: Alleged school gunman from violent family

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.

The teen who authorities believe was behind a deadly shooting Monday in Chardon, Ohio, had violence in his life from early on, Cleveland's Plain Dealer newspaper reported.

Court records showed that Thomas Lane Jr., the father of suspect T.J. Lane, had been arrested several times for abusing women he had children with, including the teen's mother, the newspaper reported. The father had been warned to stay away from the teen's mother at least once, records reportedly showed.

Thomas Lane filed for divorce from the teen's mother in 2002 and later that year was charged with attempted murder, felonious assault and kidnapping, WKYC-TV cited court records as showing. He was convicted of felonious assault and sentenced to 5 years probation. It was not immediately clear what the charges stemmed from.


A juvenile court judge on Tuesday ordered that the teen be held for at least 15 days while prosecutors prepare to file charges.

T.J. Lane

It was not clear whether the teen and his father had any contact recently, the newspaper reported.

The suspect's family said through attorney Bob Farinacci Monday night that they were struggling to comprehend what had happened a day after the worst U.S. high school shooting in nearly a year.

"This is something that could never have been predicted. T.J.'s family has asked for some privacy while they try to understand how such a tragedy could have occurred and while they mourn this terrible loss for their community," the statement read.

Students at the high school outside of Cleveland were told to stay home Tuesday.

Officials believe Lane opened fire inside a high school cafeteria at the start of the classes on Monday, hitting five students. 

A prosecutor on Tuesday said Lane had confessed to the shootings and that he had aimed randomly.

Daniel Parmertor was killed instantly and on Tuesday officials said Demetrius Hewlin had died while Russell King Jr. was declared brain dead. Two others remain hospitalized.

"He had no emotion on his face, he was just shooting," a Chardon student told WKYC.

Travis Carver, another student present in the cafeteria at the time said the expression on the gunman's face was "straight determination."

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

The suspect was taken into custody near his car a half-mile from the suburban Cleveland school after football coach Frank Hall chased him from the building, according to FBI officials.

The motive for the shooting, which took place while students were studying and eating breakfast, remains a mystery. Fellow students told local media the suspect was a quiet loner who may have been bullied.

Lane was not a student at Chardon High School. He attended the nearby alternative school Lake Academy in Willoughby, which serves at-risk students. Students may have been referred to the school because of academic or behavioral problems.

'Good kid'
When asked about the suspect, his family's lawyer called him a "good kid."

"By all accounts T.J. is a fairly quiet and good kid. His grades are pretty impressive," Farinacci said. "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."

Student in school shooting: ‘I went into panic mode’

Some fellow students called the 17-year-old quiet and sweet, although others said he had a temper, the Plain Dealer reported.

"He would never really talk about his family," Haley Kovacik said. "But you can always tell he had a very sad look in his eyes all the time. He usually just kept to himself."

Kovacik said she never saw him get bullied, but said it could have happened, as he was "very quiet."

"He never really stood up for himself very much," she said.

His now-deleted Facebook page showed one picture of him bare-chested and glaring at the camera and another behind a huge teddy bear that bore a heart and the words "Be Mine," according to the newspaper.

Ian Sanborn and Travis Carver, who were both in the Chardon High School cafeteria when a teen gunman opened fire, talk to TODAY's Ann Curry about the harrowing experience.

He listed "primitive hunting" among his interests, the newspaper reported.

The suspect's family said they were struggling to comprehend what had happened.

"The family wanted me to convey to the citizens of Geauga County and Northeastern Ohio that the family is devastated," Farinacci said in the statement late Monday. "They want to give 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."

Slideshow: Deathly school shooting in Ohio

The mother of a student in Chardon, who asked not to be identified, said her son knew the accused gunman.

"My son's reaction was 'this doesn't surprise me.' T.J. (Lane) was a nice sweet kid who was misunderstood and he probably cracked from being different," she said.

NBC News, Reuters The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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