Scott: students filed out of school and ran for the bus, just like any Friday. But this Friday was different. A memorial to three Chardon High students grew on the edge of the school grounds. Senior Erin Hannon lit candles in tribute to Danny Parmetor, Demetrius Hewlin and Russell King, Jr.
“I was friends with Russell and now he’s gone. It gives me gratitude for friends I do have.”
Scott: A week ago today, Chardon High School experienced something horrible. A gunman opened fire in the cafeteria, killing three students and badly injuring a fourth, Nick Walczak.
The alleged shooter? Seventeen-year-old TJ Lane.
“Sounded like a firecracker until I turned around and saw the kid shooting.”
“We figured it was another drill. Nothing ever happens in Chardon”
Scott: But those lockdown drills at the school probably saved lives. The students, teachers and staff at Chardon already knew how to handle and react to an emergency.
“Once a month, they shut the lights, lock the doors and have us sit in a corner.”
“Three lives were lost and it would have been a lot more if we hadn’t done the drills.”
“We all wish that we never had to use it, but we used it and it worked.”
Scott: It was football coach Frank Hall who chased the gunman out of the school. And though he says he’s not, many are calling him a hero.
As the community recovers, bits of normal life are peaking through the dark clouds. The first round of the state basketball play-offs had been scheduled for the day of the shooting. On thursday, Chardon High students stood with one heartbeat.
“It’s been a really long week. It’s amazing what a small town can really do.”
How are you feeling, now you’re back at school?
“It was definitely sad going back. But a good day. We were there for each other. Sense of love.”
“I was giving everybody free hugs.”
Scott: Erin is sad about her lost friends but says she appreciates the ones that are still in her life.
“I have gratitude to have known them my whole life. I see them everyday but now, wow! They could not be here right now. And I’m grateful they’re in my life.”