The Disturbing Story Of T.J. Lane, The Evil Killer Behind The Chardon School Shooting

Three students were killed and another three wounded at Chardon High School when T.J. Lane opened fire from the cafeteria on the morning of February 27, 2012 - while wearing a sweatshirt with the word "killer" printed across the front.

T.J. Lane showed no remorse for gunning down his classmates
T.J. Lane showed no remorse for gunning down his classmates

On that fateful day in the town of Chardon, Ohio, in 2012, when T.J. Lane opened fire at the Chardon High School his ambition was supposedly to kill someone that he believed was a romantic rival. However, T.J. who was known as a "troubled kid," ended up shooting dead three students and seriously injuring three others.

It was never in doubt who the shooter was, and Lane's trial was exceptionally quick, however, his conviction was not the end to the tragic story - here we look into the story of T.J.Lane, the Chardon High School shooter.

Why Did T.J. Lane Massacre His Classmates?

Born Thomas Michael Lane III on 19 September 1994 in the "all-American" town of Chardon in the Midwest, Lane was not brought up in a happy home. Thomas Lane Jr, his father, spent most of his son's life in and out of prison, mainly for violent offences committed against women - including Lane's mother, who also had several run-ins with the law for domestic violence.

After years of turmoil at home, T.J. Lane was sent to live with his grandparents after his own parents lost custody of him.

T.J. Lane was described by other students at Chardon High School as "reserved". He never discussed the details of his problematic home life and had very few friends, nor did he partake in any school clubs.

One student who went to school with Lane described him to CNN: "He seemed like a very normal, just teenage boy. He did have a sad look in his eyes a lot of the time, but he talked normally, he never said anything strange."

Teresa Hunt, whose niece took the bus to school with Lane, also told the news outlet that he was a "kind" child who would engage with her niece when no one else would.

Despite his initial appearance of kindness, T.J. Lane was deemed a "reluctant learner," which led to him being transferred to the Lake Academy Alternative School, in the neighbouring town of Willoughby, Ohio, at the end of his first year.

Two months prior to carrying out the horrific shooting, T.J. Lane published a disturbing post on his Facebook page:

"I am Death. And you have always been the sod. Now! Feel death, not just mocking you. Not just stalking you but inside of you. Wriggle and writhe. Feel smaller beneath my might. Seizure in the Pestilence that is my scythe. Die, all of you."

Although many may have read his chilling social media outburst, no one appeared to have predicted what was about to come.

The Chardon High School Shooting

The horror at Chardon High School started on February 27, 2012, at approximately 7.30 am, when Lane stormed into the school cafeteria - where hoards of students would congregate before their morning lessons - and opened fire.

T.J. Lane shot five male students and one female student before running from the cafeteria, before quickly being tackled by Joseph Rizzi, a teacher, and Frank Hall, a coach.

Although Lane was quickly restrained, his rampage had already killed Danny Parmertor, Demetrius Hewlin, and Russell King Jr, and left two of the other students severely injured.

Chardon High School Shooting Victims Danny Parmertor, Russell King Jr, and Demetrius Hewlin
Victims: Danny Parmertor, Russell King Jr, and Demetrius Hewlin

T.J Lane's Trial and His Callous Outburst

The trial of T.J Lane went as everyone expected, he was quickly convicted of the shooting. However, his outrageous and disrespectful behaviour at the trial captured news headlines all around the world.

At his sentencing hearing, Lane wore a white shirt with the word "KILLER" scribbled across the front, similar to that worn on the day of the shooting, and spoke callously to the families of the victims, he stuck his middle finger up while saying:

"This hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory. Fuck all of you."

Although speculation was made by many that T.J. Lane was trying to kill a romantic rival, he never explained his motive behind why he carried out the shooting in court.

T.J. Lane was handed three life sentences for the shooting - one for each student who he killed.

T.J. Lanes Escape From Prison

After being convicted, T.J. Lane was sent to the Allen Correctional Institution in Lima, Ohio, where he was reported to be a troublesome inmate from the beginning.

The prison detailed how Lane was disciplined at least seven times for his behaviour, including refusing to perform prison tasks, self-mutilation, and urinating on walls.

On September 11, 2014, T.J. Lane, along with two other inmates, escaped from prison. The news of his escape immediately led to the Chardon High School being closed out of concern for the safety of the students.

Police searched neighbourhoods on the north end of Lima, Ohio, requesting that residents kept their doors locked and stayed inside.

Less than 24 hours after his escape, T.J. Lane was found outside a church close to the prison, and according to authorities he put up no fight, nor did he say anything when he was recaptured. T.J. Lane is now serving his multiple life sentences at the Warren Correctional Institution in Youngstown, Ohio, a maximum security prison. According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Lane's schedule is now very restrictive, and he has far fewer privileges than before entering the maximum security jail.

Frank Hall, the coach that tackled T.J. Lane just after he had opened fire, founded the Coach Hall Foundation, which takes the survivors of the shooting to other high schools across the country to share their stories with the aim of preventing similar tragedies in the future.

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