Ohio school shooter T.J. Lane escapes from prison

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tj lane 1(CNN) — Convicted Ohio school shooter T.J. Lane, who is serving a life sentence for killing three fellow students at his high school in 2012, has escaped from prison, the Lima Police Department said Thursday evening.

Officers were searching the neighborhoods on the north end of the city, which is located about 90 miles northwest of Columbus.

“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. “A Patrol helicopter with advanced infrared detection equipment has been deployed and is engaged in the search as well.”

Residents have been advised to lock their doors and stay inside.

The 19-year-old was last seen wearing an Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution prison uniform.

He was one of two inmates who escaped from the facility. The other man was Clifford E Opperud, 45, originally from Carlisle.

Ian Friedman, Lane’s attorney, said the news is unexpected.

“You never plan on someone escaping and certainly someone of that notoriety, you would think that they would take special precautions to prevent this,” he said. “This was a huge case here in Ohio. So, everyone in Ohio is shocked right now.”

The Chardon Police Department said they are providing extra patrols to the families of T.J. Lane’s victims and to people in the area, if they would like it. Chardon is about 190 miles away from Lima, where Lane was last seen.

The shooting and sentencing

On February 27, 2012, Lane walked into his the Chardon High School cafeteria with a .22-caliber gun and randomly started shooting. He fired 10 rounds.

Three students died, two others hospitalized and a third got nicked in the ear.

Chardon is a community of 5,100 people some 30 miles east of Cleveland.

Lane pleaded guilty last last year to three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and weapons-related charges.

He was sentenced to consecutive sentences of life without parole and additional sentences totaling 37 years.

Lane wore a white T-shirt to his sentencing with “killer” written across the front.

Given the opportunity to speak, Lane made an obscene gesture at the victims’ families and spoke to them briefly, using explicit language.

“For everyone in that courtroom — the victims, their families, the prosecutors, defense — everyone in that courtroom was just absolutely taken aback,” said Friedman, who hasn’t talked to Lane in about a year. “There was no way to fully comprehend what happened in the courtroom that afternoon.”

CNN’s Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.

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