Ohio

Eye on Education

Mental Illness, Not Bullying, Behind Chardon High School Shooting, Prosecutor Says

Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

A mother and daughter place flowers outside Chardon High School on Feb. 28, 2012, the day after a shooting at the school.

After 17-year old T.J. Lane opened fire in the Chardon High School cafeteria in Northeast Ohio earlier this year, killing killing three students and seriously injuring two, some students and media were quick to suggest Lane was a bullied loner who turned to violence in reaction to bullying.

Police never endorsed that theory, and Geauga County Prosecutor David Joyce isn’t endorsing it either. After a court apperance by Lane last week, Joyce seemed to rule out the idea that Lane “lashed out” after being bullied. Joyce said:

“He chose his victims at random. This is not about bullying. This is not about drugs,” Joyce said. “This is someone who’s not well, and I’m sure in our court case we’ll prove that to all of your desires and we’ll make sure justice is done here in this county.”

Lane has “mental illness of psychotic proportions,” a psychiatrist testified:

In the past, Lane told the doctor of periods of “altered mental states” in which he is “preoccupied, and mentally not there.” He also reported having had delusions, hallucinations and involuntary fantasies.

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