CHARDON, OHIO: Family members of three teenagers killed in an Ohio school shooting two years ago claim in a lawsuit that the school didn’t have enough security and that the alternative school the shooter attended didn’t properly evaluate the risks he posed.
The families and a student wounded in the shooting filed the lawsuit Thursday against both schools and some current and former administrators. It came on the second anniversary of the shooting at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland, and just hours after the father of one of the slain students was found dead at his home.
Authorities were continuing to investigate the death of Russell King Sr., 48, who was one of the parents listed as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Investigators said they found no signs of foul play, but are not saying how he died.
The families alleged in their lawsuit that Chardon administrators knew the high school needed more security and failed to make changes. The school had an “alarming lack of security and inadequate policies and procedures,” the lawsuit said.
“Because this is now a legal matter, it would be inappropriate for the district to comment,” Chardon Superintendent Michael Hanlon Jr. said in a statement.
Prosecutors said T.J. Lane fired 10 shots at a group of students inside the cafeteria in February 2012. Lane went to the high school each day to catch a bus to Lake Academy Alternative School, where he was a student.
Lane, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, later pleaded guilty and is serving three life sentences.
The lawsuit said Lake Academy administrators failed to properly evaluate Lane and did not warn others about his mental instability and the likelihood of him becoming violent. Lake Academy’s director did not respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.
The families are seeking more than $25,000 in damages. King’s son, 17-year-old Russell King Jr., was killed in the shooting. Daniel Parmertor and Demetrius Hewlin, both 16, also were killed.
The lawsuit was the third filed by the families. A lawsuit over a fund created to help the families was settled last September while a wrongful death lawsuit against Lane and his family is pending.
The wrongful death suit alleged negligent supervision by Lane’s parents and grandparents.
In this week’s filing, attorneys for the families said that after the shooting, authorities found more than 50 firearms scattered around the home where Lane lived and that none was properly secured.