Criminal Justice

Teen Suspect in Ohio School Shooting Likely to Face Adult Case, AG Says, But Isn't Now Charged

As the number of fellow students killed in a school shooting in Ohio yesterday climbed to three, the state’s attorney general said the as-yet-undentified juvenile suspect in the crimes is likely to be tried as an adult.

CNN, like other news media, names the 17-year-old sophomore, based on accounts by other students at Chardon High School.

The suspect, who is in juvenile custody, appeared at a hearing this afternoon in Geauga County Juvenile Court, where a judge imposed a gag order on the lawyers involved in the case and told news media not to photograph his face. A prosecutor said the suspect had admitted firing 10 shots at the high school; however, he has not been charged, either as a juvenile or an adult, CBS News reports.

USA Today provides a link to audio of emergency dispatches after the shooting Monday and a Scripps Media article provides further details of what happened when.

News reports quote witnesses as saying that he opened fire around 7:30 a.m., targeting a group of students in the school cafeteria and shooting five, before being chased out of the building by an assistant football coach who is being hailed as a hero.

As students fled and the school went into lockdown, emergency responders followed footsteps in the snow and eventually arrested the suspect, on foot, after a 30-minute search, near his car about half a mile from the high school, according to the Mirror.

Authorities have declined to speculate about a motive for the attack, but some news reports have said that one of the victims had recently been dating a teen who formerly dated the suspect.

He is described by shocked friends at school as perhaps a bit withdrawn but able to engage and converse with others and seemingly very unlikely to commit a crime of this nature. The CNN article says he was being raised by his grandparents and didn’t talk with other students about any issues he may have had with his parents.

His father had been arrested several times over the course of the teen’s life concerning domestic violence issues with women including the teen’s mother.

In a Dec. 30 post on his Facebook page, the suspect may have showed a darker side, CNN reports. In a rhyming narrative, he describes “a quaint lonely town” where a frowning man longed to see the world bow at his feet.

“He was better than the rest, all those ones he detests, within their castles, so vain,” says the poem. CBS News provides a copy.

The character then proceeds through a castle past guards “like an ominous breeze through the trees,” and, writing of how death might feel to others and the “might” that it gives him, concludes “Die, all of you.”

He wrote the narrative in class one day, the suspect wrote in a comment.

A lawyer for the suspect’s family describes the teen as a good kid who had never been in trouble and got excellent grades, Reuters reports.

The Mirror says that that lawyer, Robert Farinacci, described the suspect’s family as devastated and said they are offering “their most heartfelt and sincere condolences” to those who were killed and injured in the attack and their families.

Additional coverage:

Associated Press: “Death toll rises to 3 in Ohio school shooting”

Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Chardon High School student describes shooter’s silent rampage”

USA Today: “Third student dies from Ohio school shooting”

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