Ohio School Shooting: Parents of Slain Student Forgive Suspected Shooter TJ Lane

Wounded student has no feeling below his chest, brother tells ABC News.

ByABC News
February 29, 2012, 11:14 AM

Feb. 29, 2012 — -- The parents of Ohio school shooting victim Demetrius Hewlin said today they forgive suspected gunman T.J. Lane for shooting their son, noting sadly that Demetrius was often late for school but not late enough that day.

"I don't know what [his] final moments were like, but I can't worry about it," Demetrius' mother Phyllis Ferguson told ABC News in an exclusive interview. "You have to accept things done and move on."

When asked what she would say to the suspected shooter, Ferguson said, "I would tell him I forgive him because, a lot of times, they don't know what they're doing. That's all I'd say."

"I taught Demetrius not to live in the past, to live in today and forgiveness is divine. You have to forgive everything. God's grace is new each and every day," she said. "Until you've walked in another person's shoes, you don't know what made him come to this point."

Hewlin was one of three teens killed following a deadly shooting rampage at Chardon High School on Monday.

Ferguson said her son as a "huggy, kissy boy" who was a "computer nerd," liked to read and did not like getting up early. Hewlin was good friends with Russell King Jr., 17, and Daniel Parmertor, 16, the other two teens who died after the shooting spree. His stepfather Tim Ferguson remembered playing pee-wee football with the boys.

"He wasn't a morning person and he was late for school. But that one day he wasn't late," his mom said. "We were running a little late, but we weren't late enough. But it's okay. It's in God's hands. Let his will be done."

She said she never imagined she would have to bury her son.

"I thought he'd bury me," Ferguson said. "He'd say, 'When you get old, Ma, you're going to live with me and we going to do this.'"

The parents said they are honoring Hewlin's wishes by having his organs donated.

"He will live after his death," Phyllis Ferguson said. "For one Demetrius, there's eight people he can help."

Ferguson said it has not fully hit her that her son is gone and that she expects to hear him running through the house. But she said she knows the matter is out of her hands now.

"God knew what he was doing. It's not for my understanding, but mine to accept and remember him as he was," Ferguson said.

The other two teen victims of the shooting are similarly being remembered and mourned.

Hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil in the tight-knit town of Chardon on Wednesday night to remember the three teenagers who died and to pray for the other two students who were injured.

Nick Walczak, 17, is still at Hillcrest Hospital and student Joy Rickers, 18, has been sent home.

Walczak's brother, Josh, told ABC News that Nick is paralyzed from the chest down, but the family hopes that is a temporary condition.

"My brother, he's still in serious condition, still no feeling from the mid chest down although he said he felt a twitch in his left calf the other night which is clearly a good sign," Josh Walczak said.

He said his brother is "suffering from spinal shock, which isn't complete damage, but you know he's recovering."

Nick Walczak will be released from the hospital, but Josh said, "He pretty much has to relearn how to walk."

Daniel Parmertor, 16, died at a hospital, hours after the shooting.

Tyler Lillash is a student at Chardon High School and was a good friend of Parmertor's.

"I just started crying uncontrollably," Lillash told ABC News, recalling when he heard the news that his friend had died, hours after Monday's shooting. "I've known Danny for six years and it's funny now that he's passed on, you know. I don't know how to handle it, to be honest."

Parmertor was a junior at Chardon High School and was also studying computer networking at the Auburn Career Center, according to his obituary on the Monreal Funeral Home website.

"He enjoyed Xbox, skiing, computers, and wing night at Cleats with his friends," the obituary read. "Danny also loved spending time with his family."

Parmertor's uncle Ron Parmertor told ABC News' Cleveland affiliate WEWS how he had been struggling with the "senseless tragedy."