By Kim Palmer
CLEVELAND (Reuters) – A teenager serving a life sentence for shooting three students to death at a Cleveland-area high school in 2012 escaped on Thursday with another inmate from a northwestern Ohio prison, prompting a manhunt for the pair, police said.
T.J. Lane, 19, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole last year for the attack at Chardon High School near Cleveland, escaped with fellow inmate Clifford Opperud, 45, from the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima, Ohio, the local police department said in a Facebook message.
The pair escaped at about 7:40 p.m. local time and were said to be wearing blue prison uniforms, police said.
Lane’s former attorney, Ian Friedman, told CNN in an interview after the escape on Thursday that the public “should be concerned. Absolutely.”
“We all know why we were in court,” Friedman said.
Lane was arrested shortly after the attack and confessed to firing 10 rounds from a .22-caliber pistol at students in the school cafeteria, killing three. Another student was left paralyzed from the waist down.
The February 2012 rampage was one of several mass shootings in the United States that year, including the massacre of 20 children at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.
Lane was sentenced to three life terms for the aggravated murders and a total of 37 years for the wounding of other students, with sentences ordered to be served consecutively.
Lane killed Demetrius Hewlin, 16; Russell King Jr., 17; and Daniel Parmertor, 16. He wounded Nick Walczak, who was left paralyzed, as well as Nate Mueller and Joy Rickers.
(Reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland; Additional reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Steve Gorman and Michael Perry)
Watch a report on Lane’s escape, as aired on CNN, below.
[Image: T.J. Lane listens during court proceedings in Geauga County Common Pleas Court in Chardon, Ohio on Feb. 26, 2013. REUTERS/Marvin Fong/Pool]