Chardon community shaken by news of school shooting in Connecticut

CHARDON, Ohio - The mass shooting at a Connecticut school Friday brought back chilling memories for the northeast Ohio community hit by a similar tragedy earlier this year.

The superintendent of Chardon Schools, Joseph Bergant II, said he visited each of the district's schools Friday and said both teachers and students appeared visibly shaken after learning the news about the New England shooting.

"Our hearts go out to families of the three students who died here at Chardon High School, and today's shooting in Connecticut certainly brings home the tragedy to us here," Bergant told NewsChannel5 Chief Investigator Ron Regan.

Back in February, police said 17-year-old TJ Lane opened fire in the cafeteria at Chardon High School, killing three and injuring two others. Lane was arrested a short time later and is awaiting trial in January.

On Friday, police said 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., before turning the gun on himself.

The shooting rekindled fragile emotions in Chardon, and some people were barely able to talk with Regan about the events that unfolded Friday morning.

The father of two of students who were at Chardon High School on the day of the shooting didn't want to be identified, but said he was upset after hearing the news from Connecticut.

"My son left the room where the shooting started to check his locker and if he didn't leave the room, he would have been killed," the father said.

The boy's grandmother also was saddened by the tragedy.

"It's unbelievable. It's just unbelievable. My heart breaks over this, and something needs to be done with the gun laws in this country," she said.

Other parents couldn't bring themselves to talk about the shooting in Connecticut – and their eyes were filled with tears.

Bergant said grief counselors have been put on standby for any teachers or students who may want to see someone.

Chief Investigator Ron Regan provided information from Chardon.

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