Thousands of Chardon High School students wiped away tears, held candles and hugged each other in and around St. Mary Catholic Church on Tuesday night, where five high school students had been shot a day earlier.
Demetrius Hewlin, 16, Russell King Jr., 17, and Daniel Parmertor, 16, were shot and killed when fellow student and suspected gunman T.J. Lane opened fire on them in the cafeteria of their Ohio high school.
Students and family mourned the passing of the three victims, as Chardon High School Principal Andy Fetchik addressed a sea of students and parents wearing letterman’s jackets pinned with remembrance ribbons.
Fetchik couldn’t hold back the tears as he addressed the sea of crying students:
“We’ll mourn together; we’ll struggle to understand together, we’ll work hard to heal. The world’s going to watch us heal. And again we’ll be proud to be Hilltoppers,” he said, referring to the name of the school’s sports teams.
Some in the crowd wiped away tears and one upset student was taken away in an ambulance.
The vigil included singing, biblical readings and several prayers. The Rev. Dan Redmond of St. Mary led the service.
Gov. John Kasich spoke for about 10 minutes, eliciting ovations from those gathered for school and city officials.
He said three teachers who chased the accused teen gunman, T.J. Lane, and helped injured students, were all heroes.
Suspect T.J. Lane has admitted firing at the students and yesterday a judge ordered him to be held for at least the next 15 days. Prosecutors have until March 1st to charge him.