breaking news

Chardon school shooter escapes prison with Carlisle inmate

Published: Thursday, September 11, 2014 @ 9:56 PM
Updated: Thursday, September 11, 2014 @ 11:51 PM

LATEST UPDATE 9/12/14:

The two prison escapees, T.J. Lane and Clifford Opperud, have been caught.

T.J. Lane was captured nearly six hours later hiding by a church early Friday, authorities said.

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The last of the prisoners who escaped with convicted Chardon High School killer T.J. Lane is now back in custody. Clifford Opperud, of Carlisle, was apprehended this morning.

UPDATE @ 11:50 p.m.:

Chardon Schools released a statement at 11:35 p.m. saying officials are monitoring the situation and will make a decision by 5:30 a.m. Friday on whether to cancel classes, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

"The safety and well-being of all students, staff and community remain our highest priority," the statement read.

The district also will offer counseling and other support services on Friday, according to the statement.

UPDATE @ 11:30 p.m.:

The Lima Police Department is using social media to keep residents informed. It's latest post assures residents that the two prison escapees, T.J. Lane and Clifford Opperud, will be caught.

"Our officers are working hard to locate these escapees," according to the Facebook post. "All available officers are in and searching. There are also aircraft involved. We'll Get them. Be safe."

UPDATE @11:15 p.m.:

Chardon High School shooting victims' families are being given around the clock police protection, according to media reports.

The Associated Press contacted Dina Parmertor, mother of Daniel Parmertor, at her home in Chardon on Thursday night.

"I'm disgusted that it happened," Parmertor said of the escape. "I'm extremely scared and panic stricken. I can't believe it."

UPDATE @11 p.m.:

Lima police, the Allen County Sheriff's Department and the Ohio Highway Patrol are all searching neighborhoods and wooded areas within a quarter-mile of the prison for the two prison escapees: T.J. Lane of Chardon, and Clifford Opperud of Carlisle.

"All available troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol have been joined by Allen County Sheriff's deputies and local area law enforcement in establishing a perimeter and searching the area," said Ohio Department of Public Safety Director John Born in a news release. "A patrol helicopter with advanced infrared detection equipment has been deployed and is engaged in the search as well."

It's believed the men are still on foot, Lima Sgt. Andy Green said. They were last believed to be wearing prison-blue uniforms, according to the Lima police department's Facebook page.

Criminal attorney Ian Friedman, who defended Lane in the Chardon school shootings case in Geauga County, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer he was shocked to hear of Lane's escape.

"I can't speak to what his mindset is," Friedman said. "But I don't think anyone would dispute the fact that he's a very smart young man."

Lane has been serving three life sentences since March 2013. He pleaded guilty to the Feb. 27, 2012, slayings of Daniel Parmertor, 16; Demetrius Hewlin, 16; and Russell King Jr., 17. He also fired shots from a .22-caliber Ruger that struck Nick Walczak, who is in a wheelchair because of it, and Nate Mueller and Joy Rickers, who suffered minor injuries, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

Opperud is in the sixth year of a 15-year sentence, court and prison records show. He was arrested after he pretended to be collecting money for charity, and then pulled out a gun and went inside a couple's home. Renee Belcher of Hamilton used to work for the victims and told Opperud which items to steal, according to court reports.

A spokesman for Gov. John Kasich said the governor "was notified shortly after it happened and then received a full briefing by DRC (Department of Rehabilitation and Correction) and the (state highway) patrol."

UPDATE @ 10:50 p.m.:

Lima police said the department was notified about the escape at 8 p.m. Thursday. He said it's unknown how they got out of the Allen Correctional Institutional, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

UPDATE @ 10:25p.m.:

Police say the convicted killer of three students at a high school cafeteria has escaped from prison and a search is underway.

Police say 19-year-old T.J. Lane escaped Thursday night along with two other inmates and one of the inmates was captured.

A search is underway in the woods and residential area near the prison and the two escapees are considered dangerous, said Lima police Sgt. Andy Green.

Authorities say they do not believe they are armed, however. They had no further information on how the two men got out of the prison.

Lima police are urging residents to call if they see anything suspicious, according to posts on its Facebook social media site. It also is alerting residents to not open doors to strangers, to not pick up hitchhikers, and to not tweet or post the locations of officers.

FIRST REPORT

Chardon High School shooter T.J. Lane escaped from the Allen County Correctional Institution in Lima, Allen County Sheriff Sam Crish said.

Lane, 19, was sentenced to life in prison for killing three students in February 2012 when he opened fire in the school cafeteria with a handgun.

He escaped with another inmate, 45-year-old Clifford E. Opperud from Carlisle, Lima police posted on Facebook.

Opperud was incarcerated in June 2008 for kidnapping, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary following his conviction in Warren County Common Pleas Court, according to online records from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

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