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Convicted Ohio School Shooter T.J. Lane Captured After Prison Escape

Lane escaped Thursday evening from an Ohio prison and was captured hours later. On Friday, Ohio's prison guard union said officials had been warned of a pending escape but didn't properly respond.

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Convicted school shooter T.J. Lane was captured Friday after escaping from the Allen County Correctional Institution in Lima, Ohio, officials said.

Lane escaped Thursday about 7:40 p.m. with 45-year-old Clifford Opperud and 33-year-old Lindsey Bruce, Ohio Department of Corrections spokeswoman JoEllen Smith told BuzzFeed News. Bruce was captured within minutes of his escape.


Neither Smith nor prison warden Kevin Jones, who held a news conference early Friday, would say how the men escaped. They said only that the matter "was under investigation."

However, local media widely reported that the inmates scaled a fence during a recreation break.

Warden says inmates scaled a barbed wire fence during a recreation break this evening. He says no shots were fired.

Josh Poland@Josh10TV

Warden says inmates scaled a barbed wire fence during a recreation break this evening. He says no shots were fired.

9:07 PM - 11 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The Lima Police Department, the Allen County Sheriff's Department, and the Ohio Highway Patrol all participated in the search. Lima Police Sgt. Andy Green told BuzzFeed News both his department and Allen County mobilized their SWAT teams. Multiple police dogs were deployed, and Ohio Highway Patrol Capt. Gary Allen said a helicopter and an airplane were circling overhead.

Escape flyer in the window of a gas station north of the prison.

Mike Vielhaber@MVielhaber

Escape flyer in the window of a gas station north of the prison.

10:09 PM - 11 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite


Lane was captured about 1:20 a.m. Friday about 100 yards from the prison's main perimeter fence, Warden Kevin Jones said.

We are confirming that Thomas Michael "TJ" Lane III is in custody. He has been returned to the prison. #TJLane

Lima Police@LimaPolice

We are confirming that Thomas Michael "TJ" Lane III is in custody. He has been returned to the prison. #TJLane

11:02 PM - 11 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The search for Opperud continued after Lane was captured. Smith said roadblocks and other safety measures remained active Friday early morning. All three men have since been recaptured, CNN reported.


All three escapees were moved to a maximum security facility in Youngstown, Ohio, Friday, according to The Plain Dealer.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol released a video Friday showing part of Lane's capture.

View this video on YouTube

Also on Friday, the union representing Ohio's prison guards said officials were warned of a pending escape, but didn't properly respond.

On Wednesday, one day before Lane's escape, employees at the Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution warned the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections that an escape was in the works, according to a statement from the Ohio Civil Service Employee Association. Prison authorities put one inmate in isolation, the statement adds, but took no other action. The statement did not say which inmate was isolated, or if he was one of the three who ultimately escaped.

The union also criticized the staffing and security conditions at the prison. Among other things, the statement argues that staff levels are too low and that funds have been diverted to create managerial positions rather than to heighten security.

Two of the escapees also had high security classification but were housed with low security inmates. The statement did identify those two inmates, though Lane and Bruce are both serving sentences for aggravated murder.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections for comment on these allegations.

Lane's case began Feb. 27, 2012, when he opened fire in the Chardon High School cafeteria.

Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

Two people place flowers outside Chardon High School the day after Lane opened fire there.


Lane fired at least 10 shots from a .22-caliber Ruger handgun. Three students died in the shooting, and three others were injured.

Lane ran from the school after the shooting and a sheriff's deputy later found him about a mile away. Lane told the deputy he just "killed a bunch of people," according to The Plain Dealer. Lane later said he didn't know why he killed the people. "I don't really understand myself," he reportedly said.

After his capture, Lane was placed in solitary confinement while his case wound through the justice system.

One day before the anniversary of the shooting, Lane pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated murder, three counts of attempted aggravated murder, and one count of felonious assault. He told the judge at his hearing that his lawyers did not agree with the decision to enter the guilty plea, but he did it anyway.

The judge later imposed three life sentences. Lane does not have the option of parole.

Lane was ineligible for the death penalty because he was a juvenile at the time of the shooting.

Lane remained defiant through the case's prosecution and at one point taunted the families of his victims. (Warning: graphic language.)

View this video on YouTube

Lane was given the chance to speak to his victims' families during his sentencing. He used the opportunity to say, "This hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory. Fuck all of you." Lane wore a T-shirt to the hearing with the word "killer" scrawled on the front.

Opperud, who escaped with Lane, began his prison term in 2008.

According to WHIO News, Opperud received a total of 15 years in prison after he pulled a gun and went inside a home while pretending to collect money for charity.

Bruce is serving a life sentence for aggravated murder and other charges.

Chardon Schools Superintendent Michael Hanlon Jr. announced that all classes would be canceled Friday.

Hanlon said in a news conference early Friday morning that Lane's escape had an "undeniable, profound, and deep impact on our community." In addition to canceling school, Hanlon said support services would be available Friday to those needing them.

This is a developing story. Check back soon for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.

Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jim Dalrymple II at

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