(CHARDON, Ohio) — The parents of Ohio school shooting victim Demetrius Hewlin said on Wednesday they forgive suspected gunman T.J. Lane for shooting their son.
“I don’t know what [his] final moments were like, but I can’t worry about it,” Hewlin’s 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 described 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,” Hewlin’s 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.”
The parents said they are honoring Hewlin’s wishes by having his organs donated.
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.”
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