CHARDON, Ohio -- Prosecutors on Thursday formally filed murder charges against T.J. Lane, the teenager accused of killing three students and wounding two others in a shooting rampage Monday in a high school cafeteria east of Cleveland.
The charges represent the first step in proceedings that could see young Lane, 17, charged as an adult and facing the possibility of life without parole, if convicted.
Charges filed in Geauga County juvenile court accuse him of killing three students and wounding two others in the shooting Monday morning at Chardon High School, about 30 miles east of Cleveland.
He is charged with three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault.
No motive has been determined.
Prosecutor David Joyce has said that victims were selected at random and that Lane is someone "who's not well."
Children convicted of juvenile crimes in Ohio are typically behind bars only until they turn 21 in the most serious cases.
But Mr. Joyce has already said he plans to charge young Lane as an adult, meaning he could face life in prison without parole if convicted of similar adult charges.
Minors are not eligible for the death penalty in Ohio, whether they are convicted as juveniles or adults.
The suspect, who attends an alternative school for students who haven't done well in traditional schools, admitted taking a 22-caliber pistol and a knife to Chardon High and firing 10 shots at a group of students sitting at a cafeteria table Monday morning, Mr. Joyce said.
Killed were Demetrius Hewlin, 16, Russell King Jr., 17, and Daniel Parmertor, 16.
Young Parmertor's visitation is scheduled Friday in Eastlake, with a funeral Mass set for Saturday morning.
Visitation is planned Monday evening in Chardon for the Hewlin youth, and his funeral Mass is Tuesday morning. Young King's visitation will be Wednesday, with a funeral the next morning in Chardon.
The motive for the shooting is unclear, though Mr. Joyce has appeared to rule out theories involving bullying or drug-dealing.
Young Hewlin attended Chardon High. The King and Parmertor youths were students at a vocational school and were waiting in the Chardon High cafeteria for their daily bus when they were shot.
Hundreds of students marched through their grieving town Thursday and reclaimed the high school from the tragedy.
One by one, tearful teens spilled into the brick school building for the first time since the Monday morning shooting. The emotional re-entry followed a walk that began on Chardon Square, the community's historic center. The procession stretched along three-quarters of a mile of sidewalk.
Students organized the show of unity and found strength, support and security in the numbers.
"We're together in this," said Jorian DeFelice, a freshman. "We don't need to be afraid because we have each other."
They had family, friends, and neighbors too.
Community members lined the route along North Street and Chardon Avenue, holding signs and clapping to carry the kids onward toward the school.
Another large group --mostly parents and siblings -- greeted the students at the school's front doors. Other parents walked along with the students. The crowd awash in Hilltopper red and black easily numbered more than 1,000.
"They're a strong group of kids," said Jake Adams, who has two children, Ian, a senior, and Sarah, a freshman, at the school. "They're going to recover from this."
The first students reached the main entrance and opened the doors just before 10 a.m. Many streamed immediately toward the cafeteria on the left where the gunfire and terror began three days earlier. They found a rearranged room, with tables positioned in the opposite direction from the last time they sat down for lunch.
Regular class schedules for all grades begin Friday.
An assistant football coach credited with chasing a teenage gunman from the school said Thursday that he wanted families of the three children slain in a shooting spree to know that he comforted the teens as they lay dying after the attack.
"I want you to know I was with them. I prayed with them. I wiped their tears and I know God was with them," an emotional Frank Hall said during a news conference shortly after the 17-year-old suspect was charged in the rampage.
Mr. Hall, who has been credited by students, faculty, and police with chasing the gunman from the school building and perhaps saving more people, brushed aside the accolades.
"I don't know why this happened. I only wish I could have done more. I'm not a hero. Just a football coach and a study hall teacher," Mr. Hall said.