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Gun accused schoolboy 'not well'

The teenager accused of killing three pupils in a shooting at a school cafeteria chose his victims at random and was "someone who's not well", a prosecutor said, as the slightly built youngster appeared in court.

TJ Lane, 17, admitted taking a .22-calibre pistol and a knife to Chardon High School in Ohio and firing 10 shots at a group of pupils sitting at a cafeteria table on Monday morning, prosecutor David Joyce said. He said Lane did not know the victims.

He said Lane would probably be charged with three counts of aggravated murder and other offences.

Thin, with short dark hair, Lane seemed small next to the sheriff's deputies who led him into the juvenile court in Chardon, and said little more than "Yes, sir" in response to questions from the judge.

His face twitched lightly while the prosecutor recounted the attack and he sniffled and half-closed his eyes as he left the court under guard.

The hearing came hours after the death toll rose to three and as schoolmates and townspeople grappled with the tragedy.

The court appearance did little to solve the mystery. Afterwards, though, the prosecutor appeared to rule out rumours and speculation that the gunman lashed out after being bullied or that the shooting had something to do with drug dealing.

"He chose his victims at random. This is not about bullying. This is not about drugs," Mr Joyce said. "This is someone who's not well, and I'm sure in our court case we'll prove that to all of your desires and we'll make sure justice is done here in this county."

Judge Timothy Grendell ordered the boy to be held for at least 15 days. Prosecutors have until Wednesday to bring charges against him and are expected to ask that he be tried as an adult.

Meanwhile, shaken residents extended condolences to the families of those killed and wounded at the 1,100-student school, and grief counselling was offered to students, staff and others at area schools. All three of the dead were pupils, as were the two wounded victims.

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