POSTED: Monday, February 27, 2012 - 12:14pm
UPDATED: Monday, February 27, 2012 - 1:37pm
Updated 10:45 a.m. ET: At least five students were injured in a shooting Monday morning at Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio, sheriff spokesman John Hiscox said. The alleged gunman is in custody, according to Hiscox.
Officials said victims were found in three different places inside the school.
The gunman was pushed out of the building by a teacher and was caught later some distance away from the school, officials said.
Police said the gunman used a handgun.
Some students told Fox 8 News they saw two gunmen.
"I'm just distraught," Victoria, a Chardon student, told Fox 8. She said the cafeteria wasn't crowded at the time of the shooting, adding that she knew the shooter, who is a junior. Victoria said she saw him shoot another student in the back before she and a friend fled the area.
“He was not like a jock, a popular kid," student Evan Erasmus told Channel 5. “He has friends, but he would be considered the outcast type."
Erasmus told Channel 5 that a student tweeted he was going to bring a gun to school but no one took him seriously.
“I am still in shock,” Jonathan Sylak, a senior at the high school, told MSNBC TV.
Asked about the connection of the alleged shooter and the victims, Sylak said “I don’t think it was random.”
“They were definitely targeted, I think,” he said.
He said he knows the shooter.
According to WKBN.com, police scanner traffic is reporting three victims are in critical condition. Medical helicopters converged on the Wal-Mart in Chardon, where a landing zone had been set up.
Three victims have been transported to MetroHealth Medical Center and two to Hillcrest Hospital, according to the News-Herald.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported the shooting began in the cafeteria, according to a waiting parent, Jessica Bryant, whose daughter had seen it and sent her a text message.
Another parent, Jeannette Roth, said her son told her the shooting happened while students were eating breakfast and waiting for first period. She told the paper a student "stood up and started shooting, and then it was chaos." Nearly 1,100 students attend Chardon High School.
Students fled and locked themselves in classrooms for safety.
“These kids are knowledgeable about guns because they hunt,” Laurie Hovater, a reporter for WTAM Radio, told MSNBC TV.
Civil deputy Erin Knife, of the Geauga County Sheriff's Office, says the shooting was reported around 7:30 a.m.
Schools in the area are locked down.
The school system has received an excellent rating from the Ohio Department of Education for 10 consecutive years.
Chardon is located about 30 miles east of Cleveland in Geauga County and is a city of about 5,100 residents.