Chardon - A student opened fire with a handgun in the cafeteria of an Ohio high school east of Cleveland on Monday, killing one student and wounding four others before he was chased from the building by a teacher and gave himself up, authorities said.
Four boys and one girl had been admitted to hospital after the 7.30am shooting at Chardon High School that sent students fleeing in panic. The suspect, a male youth, was in custody, police said.
“One student has passed away. That's the sad news for all of us today,” Chardon Police Chief Tim McKenna said at a news conference.
The student was identified as Daniel Parmentor, 17, who studied computer science at a nearby vocational school and was waiting in the cafeteria for a bus when the gunman opened fire.
“We are shocked by this senseless tragedy,” said a statement from Parmentor's family. “Danny was a bright young boy who had a bright future ahead of him. The family is torn by this loss.”
He was one of three victims flown to MetroHealth System's trauma centre in Cleveland, where another boy was in critical condition and undergoing surgery, said Maggie Lynch, school superintendent in nearby Auburn. The girl and another boy were in stable and serious condition at a suburban hospital.
The Ohio shooting is the worst at a US high school in 11 months, according to the Brady Centre to Prevent Gun Violence.
Emergency vehicles rushed to the scene as students streamed from the building. The entire school district, about 50km east of Cleveland, was closed for the day.
“The remainder of our students are safe, home with their parents,” said an emotional Joseph Bergant, superintendent of Chardon schools. He praised the teachers, who had been through disaster training and acted immediately to protect the students.
The shootings started in the cafeteria and the suspect was chased by a teacher out of the building, the Geauga County Sheriff's Department said. He later turned himself in, it said.
Authorities did not identify the shooter or the teacher.
A Chardon student, Danielle Samples, 16, said she was in the cafeteria when she heard a series of “pops” and someone yelled to run down the hallway into a classroom. She then heard another round of pops.
“It hasn't hit me yet,” Samples said in an interview. “It's very surreal.”
She said the shooter attended Lake Academy in Willoughby, which serves at-risk children. He was at Chardon waiting for a bus. She said the student lived with his grandparents and sister.
“He's quiet,” Samples said.
A representative of Lake Academy said the incident was being investigated and would not comment.
Police have not identified the gunman, but students, parents and local media said his name was T.J. Lane. By early afternoon, police and FBI had surrounded a house in a rural part of Chardon identified in public records as belonging to Thomas Lane.
The deadliest school shooting in the United States was the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech University that left 33 people dead. The worst high school shooting was the 1999 attack at Columbine High School in Colorado that killed 12 students and a teacher. - Reuters