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

Suspect basically raised by maternal grandparents

CHARDON, Ohio - Russ Miller of Chardon is a grandfather of eight, and told NewsChannel5 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 TJ'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."

Miller told NewsChannel5 the Nolan's also played a key role in raise TJ Lane's sister and half-brother. Miller told 5 On Your Side TJ 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 told NewsChannel5 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 TJ 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 TJ 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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