mens ugg 17 wounded in Kentucky high school shooting
Gov. Matt Bevin said five others suffered non shooting injuries in the rampage and chaos that followed at Marshall County High School in Benton.
Police identified the two students who died as Bailey Holt, 15, who was pronounced dead at the school, and Preston Cope, also 15, who was airlifted to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, where he died. The 911 call came in two minutes later.
Marshall County Attorney Jeff Edwards said it did not appear the gunman targeted specific people. He called the scene “indescribable.”
“To walk in, the backpacks laying around. The phones laying around, going off . it’s indescribable,” Edwards said. “I’ve been doing this for 25 years. It’s not like anything I’ve experienced in my life.”
State Police, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on the scene.
Students were bused from the high school to a nearby middle school. Benton is a town of less than 5,000 people in western Kentucky, about 120 miles northwest of Nashville. Several victims were taken to the hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
“This is a tremendous tragedy and speaks to the heartbreak present in our communities,” Bevin said in a separate statement. “It is unbelievable that this would happen in a small, close knit community like Marshall County. As there is still much unknown, I encourage people to love on each other at this time. ”
Marshall County High School enrolled 1,374 students during the 2016 2017 school year, according to the Kentucky Department of Education. It is about 35 miles southeast of Heath High School in West Paducah, where on Dec. 1, 1997, Michael Carneal opened fire on a group of praying students. Carneal, 14, killed three people and wounded five others.
Sophomore Daniel Austin, a 17 year old special needs student,
was among those who were shot, said his brother, 23 year old Shane Story.
“I was watching TV this morning and I got a phone call from my stepmom saying there had been a school shooting and it freaked me out,” Story said. “I sensed something was wrong with my brother.”
Daniel was one of the students flown to Vanderbilt Medical Center.
His brother said he is a “positive influence” for other students and that thankfully the odds look good for his survival.
“The doctor’s said there’s a 90 percent chance they can save his arm,” Story said. “I’m grateful that he is alive, but just the pain he is going through. He has gone through so many uphill battles.”
Story spoke to his brother while Daniel was en route to Vanderbilt. “He told me to be strong,” Story said. “It’s hard to be strong when it’s your little brother.”
Mark Garland owns a small auto shop near the school where some students sought safety.
One girl was close enough to the shooting that she felt and saw bullet fragments pinging off the walls and was distraught, barely able to speak, Garland said. 68 in front of the school, searching for parents, he said.
“Just the looks on their faces, it just kind of sticks with you,” Garland said.
Rep. James Comer, R Ky., who represents Benton, tweeted condolences to the Marshall community. “My thoughts prayers go out to the students faculty at Marshall County High School where there has been a tragic school shooting,” Comer said. Rand Paul, R Ky., said they were monitoring reports from the scene and thanked first responders for their efforts.
National PTA President Jim Accomando also expressed condolences, issuing a statement saying families, educators, school administrators, community leaders and elected officials must work together to prevent gun violence in schools and ensure all students can learn in a safe environment.
act of violence at a school or involving children and youth is intolerable,” Accomando said. “And no parent should fear for the safety of their child every time they leave home.”
Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded in a 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that left six people dead, expressed similar sentiments.