The community rallied around the children of Chardon as they returned to the scene of Monday's shooting rampage. NBC's Kevin Tibbles reports.
CHARDON, Ohio – The kids of Chardon went back to school Friday morning. This town of 5,000 is doing everything it can to try to get things back to normal, or at least allow their children to get back to the daily routine of living and learning. No one thinks it’s going to be an easy road.
In the wake of Monday’s school shooting that took the lives of three young men and wounded two others, it will take time to heal.
“It is going to be very sad,” one of the students said as she approached Chardon High for the first time since a gunman walked inside wielding a handgun.
“I’m not going to be able to go up to Demetrius or Russell and just say ‘Hi’ anymore,” said another.
He was referring to two of the students that were killed, 17-year-old Russell King Jr. and 16-year-old Demetrius Hewlin, two friends who were hanging out with a tableful of pals when they were shot at around 7:30 a.m. Monday morning.
The families of both young men said their organs were donated to help others. “Demetrius’ death was not in vain,” his mother Phyllis Ferguson said during a press conference this week. “Demetrius had donated his organs. And for Demetrius’ one life, he change eight lives.”
In a solemn march of sadness and condolence yesterday, parents and students walked together to the school. Each student was then given a hug before going inside for discussion and counseling. It is not going to be easy; and while Chardon vows to overcome this tragedy it also vows never to forget those who died.
The United Way of Geauga County says they have raised more than $260,000 for the Chardon Healing Fund. The funds will be used to "support both the families directly impacted and the healing of the community," according to the web site. Kim Leininger, executive director of the United Way in Geauga, told NBC News the "phones are ringing off the hook."
The first funeral will be on Saturday for 16-year-old Daniel Parmertor. The Monreal Funeral Home’s web site’s obituary for Parmertor says in part, “He enjoyed Xbox, skiing, computers, and wing night at Cleats with his friends. Danny also loved spending time with his family.”
Classes are resuming at Chardon High School for the first time since Monday's shooting that killed three students. Meanwhile, Frank Hall, the assistant coach being credited with preventing further bloodshed, speaks out. NBC's Kevin Tibbles reports.
On Thursday night the town rallied. A sea of red Chardon jerseys cheered in the stands as the basketball team went on to defeat rival Madison. But even here, on the court, there was solidarity. Before the game the opposing team wore black Chardon T-shirts; and the two teams stood together as one prior to tip off. The community of moms, dads and kids all standing together.
The young man accused of committing this horrible act, T.J. Lane, has now formally been charged with the murders. He's charged with three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault.
His lawyer has been quoted as saying his client is now distraught and filled with remorse. He will likely be tried as an adult.
NBC News' Jo Kent contributed to this report.
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