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Third student dies in shooting; gunman said to have fired randomly

Police have released the 911 calls made moments after a teen gunman opened fire at an Ohio school, killing three students and injuring two others. NBC's KevinTibbles reports.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

CHARDON, Ohio -- The death toll in an Ohio high school shooting rose to three students Tuesday as the suspect, 17-year-old T.J. Lane, appeared at a preliminary hearing where a prosecutor said Lane had confessed to investigators and that he said he fired at students randomly.

A Cleveland hospital spokesperson said Demetrius Hewlin, who had been in critical condition, died Tuesday morning. That news came shortly after Chardon Police Chief Tim McKenna said Russell King Jr. was declared brain dead. Both were 17.

Another student, 16-year-old Daniel Parmertor, died hours after the Monday shooting, which sent Chardon High School students screaming through the halls and led teachers to lock down classrooms as they had practiced doing so many times during drills.


King and Parmertor were students at the nearby Auburn Career Center, a vocational school, and were waiting for a bus for their daily 15-minute ride when they were shot.

Lane on Tuesday appeared briefly before a juvenile court judge who ordered that he remain detained for at least 15 days and noted that prosecutors have until next Monday to charge the teen.

A prosecutor who spoke briefly before the judge said Lane had admitted firing 10 shots and that he said he did not know the victims and fired randomly. Two other teens were wounded; one remains hospitalized and the other was released on Tuesday.

Bob and Dina Parmentor, the parents of 16-year-old Danny Parmentor, who died when a teen gunman opened fire at his Ohio school, talk to TODAY's Ann Curry about the horrific event and their loss.

When Lane exited in custody of police, he turned to his two aunts and his grandfather, who is his legal guardian, and said with emotion "I'm sorry I'm so sorry" as he clenched his jaw, appearing to hold back tears.

At a press conference after the hearing, Prosecutor David Joyce described Lane as "someone who's not well."

"This is not about bullying," he added. "This is not about drugs."

Monday night, Lane's family issued a statement through lawyer Bob Farinacci. "The family wanted me to convey to the citizens of Geauga County and Northeastern Ohio that the family is devastated by this most recent event," Farinacci said. "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."

Students who know TJ Lane, the 17-year-old accused of killing three teens, said he had no emotion on his face when he was shooting. NBC's Kevin Tibbles reports.

Shaken residents offered condolences and prayers to the families of those killed and wounded at 1,100-student Chardon High School in a suburb of Cleveland.

"This gets more tragic, the whole area is suffering, our prayers go up to God to give all strength, healing and closure," said one of hundreds of Facebook postings on a memorial page.

Meanwhile, the community offered grief counseling to students, staff and others at area schools.

"We're not just any old place, Chardon," Chardon School Superintendent Joseph Bergant II said. "This is every place. As you've seen in the past, this can happen anywhere, proof of what we had yesterday."

The police chief would shed no light on a motive.

A preliminary hearing was held for T.J. Lane, the suspect in the school shooting in Chardon, Ohio. NBC's Jay Gray reports.

"I feel sorry not only for that family but all the families that are affected by this," McKenna said. Characterizing himself as a "hometown boy," he added: "Chardon will take care of Chardon."

Danielle Samples, 16, a Chardon High student who was in the cafeteria at the time, told Reuters she heard a series of "pops" and someone yelled to run down the hallway into a classroom. While Samples was in the hall, she heard another round of pops.

Mark Duncan / AP

T.J. Lane, the suspect in Monday's shooting of five students at Chardon High School, is taken into juvenile court on Tuesday.

A student who saw the attack up close said it appeared that the gunman targeted a group of students sitting together and that one of those killed was gunned down while trying to duck under the cafeteria table.

Lane did not go to Chardon High, instead attending nearby Lake Academy, which is for students with academic or behavioral problems.

Danielle, the 16-year-old student, said Lane had been at Chardon's cafeteria waiting for a bus. She said he lived with his grandparents and sister.

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Fifteen-year-old Danny Komertz, who witnessed the shooting, said Lane was known as an outcast who had apparently been bullied. But others disputed that.

"Even though he was quiet, he still had friends," said Tyler Lillash, 16. "He was not bullied."

Farinacci, representing Lane and his family, told WKYC that Lane "pretty much sticks to himself but does have some friends and has never been in trouble over anything that we know about."

He added, "His grades are pretty impressive... He's a sophomore. He's been doubling up on his classes with the intent of graduating this May."

The entire school district was closed Monday and Tuesday.

"We want them to stay home and spend some time reflecting on family," an emotional Joseph Bergant, superintendent of Chardon schools, told a news conference.

He urged parents to hug and kiss their children, and he praised the actions of teachers, who had been through disaster training and acted quickly to protect the students.

The students who were shot were found at three different locations throughout the school.

Scene reportedly caught on tape
The chaos, which started in Chardon High School's cafeteria, was captured by school surveillance video, reported cleveland.com. According to a source who saw the video, Lane sat down at an empty table around 7:30 a.m. while students were studying and eating breakfast, and moments later, pulled out a .22-caliber handgun from a bag.

The video shows Lane walking from his table over to another table where King, Hewlin, and Nick Walczak, all juniors, were seated, reported cleveland.com. The video shows Lane raising his gun and shooting, reported cleveland.com. He then ran out the cafeteria door.

Frank Hall, an assistant football coach inside the cafeteria at the time, chased after him as students raced for shelter, reported cleveland.com. The video does not show Lane shooting his other victims.

Long before official word came of the attack, parents learned of the bloodshed from students via text message and cellphone and thronged the streets around the school, anxiously awaiting word on their children.

Chardon freshman Sofia Larkins, 14, was sitting with Lane's sister when the shooting began. "She didn't know anything," said Larkins. "She was surprised as anyone."

The two girls fled to a teachers' lounge when the shooting erupted, and began hearing talk that Lane was the shooter, Larkins said. His sister began crying. Larkins said school officials came to the lounge and took the sister away.

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. was a nice sweet kid who was misunderstood and he probably cracked from being different," she said.

Chardon, the seat of Geauga County, is a town about 35 miles from Cleveland with a population of about 5,000, according to the U.S. Census and Chardon's website. The town, which describes itself as the center of the state's maple syrup industry, contains neatly restored brick buildings downtown.

The high school has about 1,100 students. 

The deadliest school shooting in the United States was a 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech that left 33 people dead. The worst high school shooting was a 1999 attack at Columbine High School in Colorado that killed 12 students and a teacher.

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

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