Tuesday 16 January 2018

Teen opens fire at school killing one,wounding four

A distraught Ava Polaski, a first year, leaves school grounds with her mother Misty Polaski following a shooting in Chardon
A distraught Ava Polaski, a first year, leaves school grounds with her mother Misty Polaski following a shooting in Chardon

Thomas J Sheeran in Chardon, Ohio

A teenager described as a bullied outcast at his suburban Cleveland high school opened fire in the cafeteria yesterday, killing one student and wounding four others.

The youth was caught by police a short distance from the campus.

A student who survived the attack and watched the horrific events unfold from just a few feet away said it appeared the gunman was targeting a group of students sitting at a cafeteria table and that the one who was killed was trying to duck under the table.

Panicked students screamed and ran through the halls after gunfire broke out at the start of the school day at 1,100-student Chardon High, about 48km from Cleveland.

The suspect, whose name was not released, was arrested near his car a half-mile away, the FBI said. He was not immediately charged.

FBI officials would not comment on a motive. But 15-year-old Danny Komertz, who witnessed the shooting, said the gunman was known as an outcast who had apparently been bullied.


"I looked up and this kid was pointing a gun about 10 feet away from me to a group of four kids sitting at a table," Mr Komertz said. He said the gunman fired two shots quickly, and students scrambled for safety. One of them "was kind of like hiding, trying to get underneath the table, protecting his face".

Five students were taken to Cleveland-area hospitals, and one later died, officials said. At least one other victim, a 17-year-old boy, is in a serious condition.

Parents thronged the streets around the school as they heard from students about the shooting via text message.

By midday, officers had blocked off a road in a heavily wooded area several kilometres from the school. Federal agents patrolled the muddy driveway leading to several spacious homes and ponds, while other officers walked a snowy hillside. It wasn't clear what they were looking for. A police dog was brought in.

Heather Ziska (17) said she saw a boy she recognised as a fellow student come into the cafeteria and start shooting.

She said she and several others immediately ran outside, while other friends ran into a middle school and others locked themselves in a teachers' lounge.

"Everybody just started running," said 17-year-old Megan Hennessy, who was in class when she heard loud noises.

Rebecca Moser (17) had just settled into her chemistry class when the school went into lockdown. The class of about 25 students ducked behind the lab tables at the back of the classroom.

"We all have cellphones, so people were constantly giving people updates -- about what was going on, who the victims were, how they were doing," Ms Moser said.

Irish Independent

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