Police: Escaped school shooter T.J. Lane has been captured

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T.J. Lane Captured Friday Morning, But How Did He Escape?
By MARK GILLISPIE & JOHN SEEWER

LIMA, Ohio (AP) -- A teenager convicted of killing three students at an Ohio high school scrambled over a fence to escape a state prison with two other prisoners and was captured nearly six hours later hiding near a church, authorities said.

T.J. Lane, 19, was caught only about 100 yards from the prison by two state troopers at 1:20 a.m. Friday. A second prisoner had been caught almost immediately after the Thursday night escape, and troopers apprehended the third three hours after finding Lane.

Lane's brief taste of freedom frightened residents in Chardon, the community nearly 200 miles to the east where Lane fatally shot three students and wounded two others. At his sentencing hearing last year, Lane unbuttoned a dress shirt to reveal a T-shirt scrawled with the word "killer." He wore a similar shirt during the shootings. He cursed and made an obscene gesture as the judge gave him three consecutive life sentences.

Police officers were sent late Thursday to guard the homes of the families of Lane's victims, while school officials huddled and ultimately decided to cancel classes Friday and make counseling available for students and the larger community.

"The last several hours have been very difficult as we come to grips with this situation," Chardon schools superintendent Michael Hanlon said at a news conference after Lane was caught.

The escape occurred at Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution, a minimum- and medium-security prison in Lima about 80 miles south of Toledo.

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Police: Escaped school shooter T.J. Lane has been captured
This photo released by the Ohio Department of Corrections shows T. J. Lane. A prisons spokesman says Lane was moved Wednesday, March 20, 2013 to Lorain Correctional Institution in Grafton, Ohio for the orientation process. Officials will later determine which institution will house him long-term. (AP Photo/Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections)
T.J. Lane smirks as he listens to the judge during sentencing Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane, was given three lifetime prison sentences without the possibility of parole Tuesday for opening fire last year in a high school cafeteria in a rampage that left three students dead and three others wounded. Lane, 18, had pleaded guilty last month to shooting at students in February 2012 at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland. Investigators have said he admitted to the shooting but said he didn't know why he did it. Before the case went to adult court last year, a juvenile court judge ruled that Lane was mentally competent to stand trial despite evidence he suffers from hallucinations, psychosis and fantasies. (AP Photo/The News-Herald, Duncan Scott, Pool)
FILE - In this Tuesday, March 19, 2013, file photo, T.J. Lane unbuttons his shirt during sentencing in Chardon, Ohio. Ohio police said Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, that Lane, 19, the convicted killer of three students at a high school cafeteria, escaped from prison and a search is underway. (AP Photo/The News-Herald, Duncan Scott, Pool, File)
T.J. Lane is handcuffed by a sheriff's deputy after sentencing Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane, was given three lifetime prison sentences without the possibility of parole Tuesday for opening fire last year in a high school cafeteria in a rampage that left three students dead and three others wounded. Lane, 18, had pleaded guilty last month to shooting at students in February 2012 at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland. Investigators have said he admitted to the shooting but said he didn't know why he did it. Before the case went to adult court last year, a juvenile court judge ruled that Lane was mentally competent to stand trial despite evidence he suffers from hallucinations, psychosis and fantasies. (AP Photo/The News-Herald, Duncan Scott, Pool)
Holly Walczak, mother of Nick Walczak, addresses the court at the sentencing of T. J. Lane Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane, was given three lifetime prison sentences without the possibility of parole Tuesday for opening fire last year in a high school cafeteria in a rampage that left three students dead and three others wounded. Nick Walczak was injured in the shooting. Lane, 18, had pleaded guilty last month to shooting at students in February 2012 at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland. (AP Photo/The News-Herald, Duncan Scott, Pool)
Crystal King, sister of Russell King, wipes a tear as she addresses the court at the sentencing of T. J. Lane Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane, was given three lifetime prison sentences without the possibility of parole Tuesday for opening fire last year in a high school cafeteria in a rampage that left three students dead and three others wounded. King was one of three students killed. Lane, 18, had pleaded guilty last month to shooting at students in February 2012 at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland. (AP Photo/The News-Herald, Duncan Scott, Pool)
Philip Carter, brother of Demetrius Hewlin, reads a statement on behalf of his mother, during the sentencing of T.J. Lane Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane, was given three lifetime prison sentences without the possibility of parole Tuesday for opening fire last year in a high school cafeteria in a rampage that left three students dead and three others wounded. Hewlin was one of three students killed. Lane, 18, had pleaded guilty last month to shooting at students in February 2012 at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland. (AP Photo/The News-Herald, Duncan Scott, Pool)
Defense attorney Ian Friedman, left, talks with T.J. Lane during sentencing Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane, was given three lifetime prison sentences without the possibility of parole Tuesday for opening fire last year in a high school cafeteria in a rampage that left three students dead and three others wounded. Lane, 18, had pleaded guilty last month to shooting at students in February 2012 at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland. (AP Photo/The News-Herald, Duncan Scott, Pool)
T.J. Lane smirks as he listens to the judge during sentencing Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane, was given three lifetime prison sentences without the possibility of parole Tuesday for opening fire last year in a high school cafeteria in a rampage that left three students dead and three others wounded. Lane, 18, had pleaded guilty last month to shooting at students in February 2012 at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland. Investigators have said he admitted to the shooting but said he didn't know why he did it. Before the case went to adult court last year, a juvenile court judge ruled that Lane was mentally competent to stand trial despite evidence he suffers from hallucinations, psychosis and fantasies. (AP Photo/The News-Herald, Duncan Scott, Pool)
T.J. Lane sits in court during sentencing Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane, was given three lifetime prison sentences without the possibility of parole Tuesday for opening fire last year in a high school cafeteria in a rampage that left three students dead and three others wounded. Lane, 18, had pleaded guilty last month to shooting at students in February 2012 at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland. Investigators have said he admitted to the shooting but said he didn't know why he did it. Before the case went to adult court last year, a juvenile court judge ruled that Lane was mentally competent to stand trial despite evidence he suffers from hallucinations, psychosis and fantasies. (AP Photo/The News-Herald, Duncan Scott, Pool)
FILE - T. J. Lane listens during court proceedings in Geauga County Common Pleas Court in this Feb. 26, 2013 file photo taken in Chardon, Ohio. A judge in the tight-knit courthouse community of Chardon, east of Cleveland, will sentence T.J. Lane, now 18, on Tuesday March 19, 2013 on his guilty plea to aggravated murder and other charges. He could face life in prison. (AP (Photo/The Plain Dealer, Marvin Fong, Pool, File)
T. J. Lane looks up during court proceedings at the Geauga County Common Pleas Court Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane, charged with killing three students at an Ohio high school pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of aggravated murder and other charges. Lane, now 18, also pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted aggravated murder and a single count of felonious assault. Prosecutors agreed to drop the death-penalty specifications from the aggravated murder counts. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Marvin Fong, Pool)
Defense attorney Ian Friedman, left, makes a point during court proceedings as T. J. Lane listens at the Geauga County Common Pleas Court Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane, charged with killing three students at an Ohio high school, pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of aggravated murder and other charges. Lane, now 18, also pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted aggravated murder and a single count of felonious assault. Prosecutors agreed to drop the death-penalty specifications from the aggravated murder counts. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Marvin Fong, Pool)
T. J. Lane listens to court proceedings at the Geauga County Common Pleas Court Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane, charged with killing three students at an Ohio high school, pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of aggravated murder and other charges. Lane, now 18, also pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted aggravated murder and a single count of felonious assault. Prosecutors agreed to drop the death-penalty specifications from the aggravated murder counts. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Marvin Fong, Pool)
T. J. Lane listens during court proceedings at the Geauga County Common Pleas Court Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane, charged with killing three students at an Ohio high school pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of aggravated murder and other charges. Lane, now 18, also pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted aggravated murder and a single count of felonious assault. Prosecutors agreed to drop the death-penalty specifications from the aggravated murder counts. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Marvin Fong, Pool)
FILE-In this June 8, file photo, T.J. Lane is brought into court for his arraignment by sheriff's deputies in Chardon, Ohio. On Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, Geauga County Judge David Fuhry refused to exclude taped comments made by the suspect's relatives while they were in a police interrogation room, for his murder trial next month. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)
FILE - T.J. Lane is shown in a Dec. 19, 2012 file photo, in Geauga County Common Pleas Court in Chardon, Ohio. Lane is charged in a school shooting rampage at Chardon High School that killed three students on Feb. 27, 2012. Attorneys for Lane are renewing their effort to move the trial out of the grief-stricken community. Lane's trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 14. (AP Photo/News-Herald, Michael Allen Blair, Pool)
CORRECTS SPELLING OF CAROLE - T.J. Lane, who is charged in a school shooting rampage at Chardon High School that killed three students on Feb. 27, 2012, waves goodbye to grandmother and legal guardian Carole Nolan after Nolan testified during a hearing in the Geauga County Common Pleas Court of Judge David L. Fury Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 in Chardon, Ohio. Lanes' trial is scheduled to begin in January 2013. (AP Photo/The News-Herald, Michael Allen Blair, Pool)
T.J. Lane, left, talks with defense attorney Ian Friedman at his arraignment in Chardon, Ohio Friday, June 8, 2012. Lane pleaded not guilty to six charges for a shooting at Chardon High School in February that left three students dead and three wounded. He will be tried as an adult. The teen could face life in prison if he's convicted. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
T.J. Lane is brought in to court for his arraignment by sheriff's deputies in Chardon, Ohio Friday, June 8, 2012. Lane pleaded not guilty to six charges for a shooting at Chardon High School in February that left three students dead and three wounded. Lane will be tried as an adult. The teen could face life in prison if he's convicted. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
FILE-In this photo taken Thursday, May 24, 2012 shows T.J. Lane, 17, appearing in Juvenile Court in Chardon, Ohio. Lane, has been charged with three counts of aggravated murder in the school shooting deaths of three students and the wounding of three others, according to an indictment released Tuesday, June 5, 2012. The indictment was returned by a Geauga County grand jury against Lane in the Feb. 27 attack at Chardon High School east of Cleveland. (AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk, Pool)
T.J. Lane, 17, enters his Juvenile Court hearing in Chardon, Ohio, on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. Lane is charged in the Feb. 27 Chardon High School rampage that left three students dead and two students seriously wounded. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
T.J. Lane, 17, appears in Juvenile Court in Chardon, Ohio, on Thursday, May 24, 2012. Lane is charged in the Feb. 27 Chardon High School shooting rampage that left three students dead and two students seriously wounded. Geauga County Prosecutor David Joyce was to argue in court Thursday that Lane should face trial as an adult. (AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk, Pool)
T.J. Lane, right, talks with his attorney Ian Friedman at Juvenile Court in Chardon, Ohio, on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. Lane is charged in the Feb. 27 Chardon High School rampage that left three students dead and two students seriously wounded. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
T.J. Lane, right, looks at his attorney during Juvenile Court proceedings Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane has been charged with three counts of aggravated murder in the killings of students Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr. and Daniel Parmertor.(AP Photo/Tony Dejak, Pool)
RE-TRANSMISSION FOR IMPROVED TONING - T.J. Lane wipes his nose in Juvenile Court Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane has been charged with three counts of aggravated murder in the killings of students Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr . and Daniel Parmertor. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, Pool)
RE-TRANSMISSION FOR IMPROVED TONING - T.J. Lane enters Juvenile Court Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane has been charged with three counts of aggravated murder in the killings of students Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr . and Daniel Parmertor. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, Pool)
T.J. Lane wipes his nose in Juvenile Court Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane has been charged with three counts of aggravated murder in the killings of students Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr . and Daniel Parmertor. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, Pool)
T.J. Lane, right, listens to his attorney during court proceedings in Juvenile Court Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane has been charged with three counts of aggravated murder in the killings of students Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr . and Daniel Parmertor. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, Pool)
T.J. Lane, 17, is taken out of Geauga County Juvenile Court in Chardon, Ohio on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 following a hearing in the shooting deaths of three students in the cafeteria of Chardon High School last week. Lane has been charged with three counts of aggravated murder in the killings of students Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr . and Daniel Parmertor. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
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Lane was housed on a "protective control" unit at the prison, a higher security setting than the main compound, according to a legislative prisons oversight committee statement Friday. The unit is designed to hold inmates with proven safety threats because of the notoriety of their crimes, testimony they have given or gang threats, the committee said.

An April inspection by the committee noted ongoing security concerns at the unit. Security management "remains a concern, both in terms of how the higher security inmates are handled, as well as discipline for misconduct," according to a May report by the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee. A message was left Friday with the state prisons agency.

Warden Kevin Jones said he saw Lane after he was captured and that the teen did not say anything. An investigation is underway to determine how the men, who were outside for recreation, managed to climb over the prison's perimeter fence, the warden said.

Authorities wouldn't say whether Lane and the other two prisoners planned their escapes together. A spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said Lane did not resist when troopers found him.

Authorities didn't release information about the prisoner who was caught almost immediately.

Lt. Eric Caudill at the highway patrol's Columbus hub confirmed the third prisoner was taken into custody around 4:20 a.m. Friday but said he didn't immediately have details about how or where. That prisoner was identified as 45-year-old Clifford Opperud, who was serving time for robbery, burglary and kidnapping.

Lane pleaded guilty last year to aggravated murder charges in the February 2012 shootings at Chardon High School. Lane, then 17, said he didn't know why he shot the teens.

Prosecutors say Lane took a .22-caliber pistol to school and fired 10 shots, killing Daniel Parmertor and Demetrius Hewlin, both 16, and Russell King Jr., 17, while wounding two others. One of the wounded students is now paralyzed.

Lane was waiting in the cafeteria for a bus to take him to an alternative school for students who don't fare well in traditional settings.

At his sentencing, Lane was defiant, smiling and smirking throughout, including while four relatives of the victims spoke.

Reached Thursday at her home in Chardon, Dina Parmertor, mother of Daniel Parmertor, said she was disgusted that Lane had escaped.

"I'm extremely scared and panic stricken," she said. "I can't believe it."

The escape marks the second time in about a year that the prisons department faces scrutiny over the handling of a notorious prisoner. Ariel Castro, who held three women captive in his Cleveland home for about a decade, was found dead kneeling in his cell and hanging from a sheet last September in what authorities concluded was a suicide.

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