Convicted High School Shooter T.J. Lane Back in Custody After Prison Escape

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

T.J. Lane, a remorseless killer who escaped from an Ohio prison where he was serving three life sentences for a school shooting, has been recaptured, a law enforcement official said.

Chardon High shooter T.J. Lane, 19, left, and Clifford Earl Opperud, 45, escaped from prison in Lima, Ohio. (Handout)

Chardon High shooter T.J. Lane, 19, left, and Clifford Earl Opperud, 45, escaped from prison in Lima, Ohio. (Handout)

For six long hours, police scoured neighborhoods on the north end of Lima, asking residents to lock their doors and stay inside.

They brought in extra officers and provided patrols to the families of Lane’s victims.

Lane was serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for his attack at Chardon High School on February 27, 2012.

He walked in to the school cafeteria with a .22-caliber gun and randomly started shooting. He fired 10 rounds, killing three students.

Authorities haven’t said how the 19-year-old broke out of the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima,Ohio, about 90 miles northwest of Columbus. He escaped, along with two other men, about 7:40 p.m. Thursday.

He was back in custody about shortly after 1 a.m. Friday.

“You never plan on someone escaping and certainly someone of that notoriety, you would think that they would take special precautions to prevent this,” Ian Friedman, his attorney, said late Thursday.

“This was a huge case here in Ohio. So, everyone in Ohio is shocked right now.”

Extra patrols

The Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution houses about 1,600 inmates guarded by 257 security personnel.

A Correctional Institution Inspection Committee report in April said the facility was over capacity by 217 inmates. In addition, the number of inmate assaults on staff increased by 60.7% last year compared with 2012. No escapes were mentioned in the report.

In the 18 months he’s been there, Lane was disciplined seven times, according to The Plain Dealer newspaper.

The infractions ranged from urinating on a wall to giving himself a tattoo, the paper said.

Lane escaped with Clifford E. Opperud, 45, who was serving time for aggravated robbery, and another man. The latter has been captured.

Chardon is about 190 miles away from Lima, where Lane was last seen.

“We’re upset this happened,” said Ron Parmetor, whose nephew Daniel Parmetor, 16, was one of Lane’s victims.

He said the family had taken the Chardon police up on their offer for extra patrols.

The other two victims were: Demetrius Hewlin, 16; and Russell King Jr., 17.

Chardon schools will be closed Friday, but counselors and other support services will be provided, the superintendent said.

Community shaken

Chardon is a community of 5,100 people some 30 miles east of Cleveland.

It was shaken by the shooting at the high school, and further traumatized by Lane’s behavior in court.

Lane pleaded guilty last last year to three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and weapons-related charges.

He was sentenced to consecutive sentences of life without parole and additional sentences totaling 37 years.

At the sentencing hearing, Lane unbuttoned his blue dress shirt to reveal a white T-shirt on which he had scrawled the word “KILLER” across the front. He had on a similar shirt during his shooting rampage.

Before the sentencing, he addressed the victims’ families using profane imagery and ending with the expletive,”F— all of you.”

He then held up his middle finger.

“For everyone in that courtroom — the victims, their families, the prosecutors, defense — everyone in that courtroom was just absolutely taken aback,” said Friedman, who hasn’t talked to Lane in about a year. “There was no way to fully comprehend what happened in the courtroom that afternoon.”