School officials: teen murder suspect ‘a quiet kid’Published 10:11am Tuesday, March 9, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
Dakotah Eliason, the 14-year-old who allegedly shot his grandfather in his Niles Township home Sunday, was not a troublemaker at school, according to principals at both Niles High School and Ring Lardner Middle School.
“He’s just a quiet kid, nice kid. He got good grades,” high school principal Jim Knoll said of the freshman.
Doug Langmeyer, the principal of Ring Lardner, said he was a student “not on my radar.”
Langmeyer said he recognized Eliason’s name when he heard the news but had to look him up in the yearbook Monday morning to match the name with a face.
Both principals said they were not aware of him being involved with any extracurricular activities in school.
“He was not a really well-known kid,” Knoll said.
The alleged murder is just one more blow in a string of tragedies that has sent shockwaves through Niles High School in recent weeks.
First, Carolyn Tarwacki, who helped with the Niles band program as a representative for the music education company Quinlan and Fabish and her husband John were murdered Feb. 5 in their Niles Township home. Dozens of Niles High School band members mourned at a candlelight vigil Feb. 8. The search for the murderer is ongoing.
Then on Feb. 11, Alex Wentz, a 15-year-old freshman, died in an apparent experiment gone wrong with the “choking game” in his Niles home. More than 1,000 people attended Wentz’s viewing, many of them students at Niles High.
Knoll said a crisis team of counselors is available to help students at the school, and a counselor spoke during Eliason’s first block class on Monday.
“The kids are emotionally drained,” Knoll said. “We’re ready for this to be done.”