Neighbor watched Chardon High shooting suspect TJ Lane grow up, says 'teen was always respectful'

CHARDON, Ohio - Russ Miller of Chardon, a grandfather of eight, told our Scripps sister station in Cleveland how much he appreciates the efforts of his next-door neighbors, Jack and Carol Nolan, who raised the teen facing charges in a shooting at Chardon High School.

Miller said the Nolans have been principally responsible for raising Chardon shooting suspect TJ Lane since he was just 5 years old. Miller explained how the task of raising T.J. fell upon the Nolans after T.J.'s parents divorced.

"You can't describe any better people than Jack and Carol," said Miller. "Good people, good Christian values, they opened their home up to raise these grandchildren."

He says the Nolans also played a key role in raising Lane's sister and half-brother. Miller added that Lane was always respectful and seemingly good natured. 

"I watched him grow up," said Miller. "Easy-going boy, always had half smile on his face, helped me out the last couple of summers." 

Miller says Lane helped him cut down a huge pine tree that fell on his property last year. Miller said Lane spent hours helping him, and when he offered to pay the teen, he refused to take the money.

"He was never a problem," said Miller. "He would walk around barefoot in the summer, I'd get on him about that."

"He went to a technical school in Willoughby, he was having problems here in Chardon as far as his grades," he said. "The kid turned things around, what I understand he is an 'A' or 'B' student, and he was going to graduate early."

Miller, a Vietnam veteran said he asked Lane if he had any interest in joining the military. Miller said he told the teen he should look into joining the Air Force, but said Lane was still undecided.

"I never saw T.J. with a gun, they don't have guns at Jack and Carol's," said Miller.

The Vietnam veteran now has the flag in his front yard at half staff due the Chardon High School tragedy.

"My heart goes out to these families," said Miller. "You never think when your kid goes to school that something like this could happen, not in a town like Chardon."

Miller said his thoughts and prayers are also with T.J. Lane. 

"God be with him," said Miller. "May God have mercy on him is all that I can say, because he's going to need it."

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