A teenager serving a life sentence for shooting dead three Cleveland-area high school students in 2012 was caught about 100 yards from the Ohio prison’s perimeter fence he had scaled to escape just hours earlier, officials said on Friday.
T.J. Lane, 19, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole last year for the attack at Chardon High School, escaped with inmates Clifford Opperud and Lindsey Bruce from the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima, northwestern Ohio, warden Kevin Jones told reporters at a news conference.
Lane’s former attorney, Ian Friedman, warned that Lane could be dangerous and was one of the few maximum security prisoners at the facility. He had recently lost an appeal.
Lane was arrested without incident and Bruce was also recaptured near the prison on Thursday, Jones said.
The 45-year-old Opperud remains at large, he said.
“Obviously, I’m not happy that this happened,” Jones said at the news conference outside the facility.
The Lima Police Department said in Facebook messages only that Lane and Opperud had escaped.
Prison officials and police, backed by a helicopter using infrared detection equipment, launched an “extensive manhunt” in the area and warned residents not to let strangers into their homes or to pick up hitchhikers.
Lane was originally arrested shortly after the February 2012 school attack and confessed to firing 10 rounds from a .22-caliber pistol at students in the school cafeteria that killed Demetrius Hewlin, 16, Russell King Jr., 17, and Daniel Parmertor, 16.
He also wounded Nick Walczak, who was left paralyzed, as well as Nate Mueller and Joy Rickers.
Lane wore a T-shirt with “killer” scrawled on it and made a profane statement in court when he was sentenced to three life terms for the aggravated murders and a total of 37 years for wounding the other students last year.
The 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.
Chardon, a small town near Cleveland, is about 200 miles (320 km) east of the prison.
Chardon Local School District Superintendent Michael Hanlon said in a statement that district schools would be closed on Friday, but would still provide counseling services.
(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Additional reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Louise Ireland)