Two more students have been pronounced dead from wounds suffered in Monday's shooting rampage at an Ohio high school, authorities said on Tuesday, as the shaken suburban Cleveland town prepared for a vigil for the five teenage victims of the attack.
Demetrius Hewlin and Russell King Jr., 17, were both declared dead, a spokesman for Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office said, adding to the toll from the mayhem at Chardon High School.
Daniel Parmertor, 16, was declared dead on Monday. Two other students were still hospitalized Tuesday with gunshot wounds.
The suspect, a student, was scheduled to appear on Tuesday in a hearing at Geauga County Juvenile Court. A vigil was planned for Tuesday night, and dozens of students spent the day huddling and walking around in groups, placing red ribbons around the grounds.
Authorities expected to release the results of an autopsy on Parmertor later on Tuesday. Autopsies may be performed on Hewlin and King on Wednesday, a medical examiner's spokesman said.
King had no brain activity when he arrived at MetroHealth Medical Center and was declared brain dead, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office administrator Hugh Shannon said.
Hewlin's family confirmed his death in a statement released by the hospital.
Demetrius was a happy young man who loved life and his family and friends, the statement read. We will miss him very much but we are proud that he will be able to help others through organ donation.
A 17-year-old male was in serious condition and an 18-year-old female was stable at Hillcrest Hospital in suburban Cleveland, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
Police have not formally identified the suspected gunman. But students, parents of students and local media identified him as T.J. Lane, a student at a school for at-risk youth whose family said they were in shock over the events and asked for privacy. Lane was not immediately charged.
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, the Lane family's lawyer Bob Farinacci told local WKYC news.
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 school district was closed on Tuesday and will not reopen fully for classes until Friday. Faculty and staff will meet Wednesday, and parents and students together may return Thursday, Chardon schools Superintendent Joseph Bergant told a news conference on Tuesday.
On Monday, Bergant praised the actions of teachers, who he said had acted quickly to protect the students.
MOTIVE A MYSTERY
Chardon Police Chief Tim McKenna did not disclose a motive on Tuesday morning for the shooting, which happened while students were studying and eating breakfast.
Some witnesses told local media he appeared to deliberately target a table where a student who had started dating his former girlfriend was seated with friends.
The Lane family's lawyer described the suspect as a good kid who had never been in trouble and had impressive grades.
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, Farinacci said.
Student Sebastian Diaz-Rodriguez said Tuesday he was in the cafeteria when the shooting started and heard assistant football coach Frank Hall intervene.
I hit the ground and heard Mr. Hall yell 'hey' at the shooter, Diaz-Rodriguez said. The shooter turned to Mr. Hall and ran out. Mr. Hall chased him.
He did what he usually does, Diaz-Rodriguez said of Hall, adding he regularly breaks up disagreements.
Hall could not be reached to comment on Monday or Tuesday. His mother, Mary Hall, spoke briefly.
He says he doesn't really feel like a hero, Mary Hall said in a telephone interview. He thinks anyone would have done the same thing.
Diaz-Rodriguez said he ran out of the cafeteria into another room with a female student, and the two realized she had been shot. He and a student who had received emergency medical training applied pressure to the wound, he said.
Chardon student Danielle Samples, 16, told Reuters she was in the cafeteria Monday when she heard a series of pops and then someone shouted to run down the hallway. She heard another round of pops while she was in the hall, Samples said.
Samples said the suspected shooter was a student at Lake Academy in Willoughby, which serves at-risk students, who had been at Chardon's cafeteria waiting for a bus. She said the student lived with his grandparents and sister.
Chardon freshman Sofia Larkins, 14, said she was sitting with Lane's sister when the shooting began. She didn't know anything, Larkins said. She was surprised as anyone.
The two girls fled to a teachers' lounge when the shooting erupted, and began hearing talk that T.J. Lane was the shooter, Larkins said. His sister began crying. Larkins said school officials came to the lounge and took the sister away.
Chardon, the seat of Geauga county, is a semi-rural, affluent town about 35 miles (56 km) from Cleveland with a population of about 5,000, according to the U.S. Census.
The deadliest school shooting in the United States was a 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech University that left 33 people dead. The deadliest high school shooting claimed 12 students and a teacher in 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado.
(Reporting by Kim Palmer, Dan Burns, Andrew Stern, James B. Kelleher and David Bailey; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Vicki Aallen)