A prime suspect is in custody after a shooting in a high school cafeteria outside Cleveland early Monday that killed one student and injured four others.
A gunman opened fire at about 7:45 a.m. in the cafeteria at Chardon High School, where students were eating breakfast. Police have not yet identified the suspect, but the Associated Press reports that a student at the school identified the shooter as a fellow student.
The five gunshot victims — four boys and a girl — were taken to area hospitals after 8 a.m. Three of the students were flown by helicopter to a trauma center in Cleveland, about 35 miles west of Chardon, a village in Geauga County.
Officials reported that one victim died shortly after noon Eastern time. “That’s the sad news for all of us today,” said Chardon Police Chief Timothy McKenna, in a statement.
Police evacuated students and blocked streets to search for the shooter, who fled on foot after being chased out of the school by a teacher.
The student turned himself in to authorities at 9 a.m. The alleged shooter was taken into custody at the Geauga County Safety Center.
Student accounts of the shooting to the Cleveland Plain Dealer reveal the alleged gunman took students by surprise as they ate breakfast and waited for first period to start. He “stood up and started shooting, and then it was chaos,” parent Jeannette Roth said, recounting what she heard from her son, Joshua Roth.
Students who were outside the cafeteria in classrooms said their teachers took immediate action after shots were heard. According to Bernie Hupp, a junior, his teacher gathered all the students into the back of the room, where they could not be seen from the door.
The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and a local SWAT team are currently on campus to investigate.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) commended the local police and county sheriff departments “for quickly getting this situation under control” and said he “pledged Ohio’s full support to them, the school, and the local community in this difficult time.”
The last school shooting in northeast Ohio was in 2007 at SuccessTech Academy in Cleveland, where a 14-year-old student killed himself after wounding two teachers and two fellow students.
Chardon High School’s enrollment is 1,091.