Two dead, three injured in Chardon shooting

Graphic by MCT Campus.

Sophomore Danielle Samples said she was leaving the Chardon High School cafeteria when she heard “pop, pop, pop.”

The sounds, coming from inside the cafeteria where students were having breakfast, stopped her in her tracks.

She didn’t know it then, but the “pops” were in fact gunshots, which killed two students and injured three others. Police received a call at 7:38 a.m. reporting the shooting.

Samples, after hearing the shots, said someone stuck his head out of the boys’ bathroom near her. He looked into the cafeteria and yelled for everyone to get into a classroom.

“I don’t think I’ve ever run that fast before in my life,” the 16-year-old said.

She ran up some stairs and into a classroom, ducking with several others.

“It was crazy,” she said. “Everyone was silent. Everybody was shaking.”

The school was on lockdown for 90 minutes. Students then evacuated to Maple Elementary School across the street where parents were told to pick them up.

Dan Parmertor, 16, died Monday after being life-flighted from the Geauga County school. Two others, who were in critical condition as of Monday at 4 p.m., were taken by helicopter to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.

Another two students, one in serious condition and one in stable condition as of 4 p.m. Monday, were ground-transported to Cleveland Clinic, said Chardon Police Chief Tim McKenna at a press conference Monday afternoon.

Police have a juvenile suspect in custody but are not releasing his name as no formal charges have been filed. However, Nate Mueller, a Chardon High School junior whose right ear was grazed by a bullet, identified the shooter as T.J. Lane.

Samples said she doesn’t know the gunman, but she knows the victims.

She said she had no indication that something like this would happen, but several news reports have indicated the gunman took to social media sites to warn his victims of his plans.

Mercedes Roskelly, 18 and a recent graduate of Cardinal High School, said she saw a photo Monday of the alleged gunman on Twitter, holding a gun and a sign with the words “Chardon High School Massacre.”

“You don’t think that some kid’s going to come in with a gun,” Roskelly said. “You can walk around Chardon at night and not have any worries … Everybody knows everybody.”

Samples, who said the high school doesn’t have any metal detectors, was amazed at the school and authorities’ quick response.

“Everybody was in a panic,” she said, “but it was amazing how fast the kids got from the cafeteria to a classroom with the doors locked.”

Geauga County Sheriff Daniel McClelland said the school district started preparing for events like this several years ago. The district practiced lockdowns a few times a year.

“As a result of that training, units of law enforcement were quickly placed inside the school upon arrival,” he said, “and we believe that helped lessen the tragedy that occurred.”

Chardon schools superintendent Joe Bergant said the district’s schools, which house about 3,100 students, will be closed Tuesday. Grief counseling is available at the middle school from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the rest of the week.

“I’m asking that our teachers and our faculty and all support staff … stay home and spend some time reflecting on family,” Bergant said. “Any parent who hasn’t hugged or kissed your kid in the past day, take that time.”

Chardon, which has a population of about 5,100, is about 36 miles north of Kent. McKenna said the investigation is ongoing and will be “very long.”

Contact Courtney Kerrigan at [email protected].

Contact Taylor Rogers at [email protected].

Dealing with the shooting

David Boyle of Ravenwood Mental Health Center said in a press conference Monday there is no normal response to an event like the shooting. Reactions will vary. Some will take it in stride, while others will be distraught.

“It is our opinion that it’s best for you to talk about and deal with these events as soon as you can after the event and thereby reduce the long term impact of this terrible tragedy,” he said.

Boyle said it’s normal for people to still be grieving long after the chaos has subsided. He suggested they call and speak with someone if they’re experiencing depression.

The number for the health center is 440-285-3568.