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Date: 01-24-2018

What we know now: Marshall County High School shooting

By Thomas Novelly

Benton, Kentucky was shaken to its core Tuesday when a 15-year-old sophomore went on a shooting rampage at Marshall County High School, killing two students and injuring more than a dozen.

Here's what we know now.

Rising numbers

While initial reports from Gov. Matt Bevin, witnesses, and Kentucky State Police were spotty, the final numbers of those injured rose overnight.

20 students in total were affected, according to the latest update from Kentucky State Police spokesman Jody Cash.

16 of them were hit with gunshots, including two of them who died. Four other people were affected by other injuries. In total, 14 males and six females were identified as the victims.

Bailey Nicole Holt, age 15, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Marshall County Coroner. Preston Ryan Cope, age 15, was pronounced dead at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, according to Cash.

Active shooter training

The accused shooter had not been named by authorities but could be charged as an adult. He's being charged with two counts of murder and "numerous" counts of attempted murder, Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders said.

The school conducts regular active shooter training, and while many praised that training, it's unknown how well it worked.

"In the area of what-ifs that's hard to tell (if the training worked)," said KSP Public Information Officer Jody Cash.

Vanderbilt gets last-minute patient

In the hours following the 15-year-olds shooting, five gunshot victims were transported by medical helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. One patient, 15-year-old Preston Ryan Cope, died at Vanderbilt from a gunshot wound to the head.

Around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, Vanderbilt Children's Hospital received a last-minute patient from the scene, a girl. She is in stable condition, according to Kristin Smart, a Vanderbilt spokeswoman.

Currently, there are four male patients who are in "critical, but stable, condition" and one female patient.

International sympathy

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon that he had called Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to offer condolences on behalf of all Canadians.

"Our hearts go out to Kentuckians, and to all those affected by this tragedy," Trudeau said in the tweet.

Left to grieve

A counseling center will be open at the old Pepsi Bottling Plant at 1531 Highway 641 North, Benton, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday. A family resource center has been set up at the Kentucky Agriculture Extension Office at 1533 Mayfield Highway, Benton, Kentucky.

News of the shooting has hit this community hard, with some like Kent Faith, recalling the nearby school shooting about 20 years near Paducah.

The mood was muted in the Four Little Pigs barbecue restaurant as staff tries to project normalcy. Some folks exchanged hugs with newcomers.

"Nobody can believe it’s happened here,” he said, referring to the past shooting.

“I think everybody is in shock. We have very little violence in this county,” Faith said while having lunch.



January 23, 2018

15 year-old shooter arrested and in custody

Two people were killed and 19 injured Tuesday morning when a student opened fire at Marshall County High School in the small western Kentucky city of Benton, Gov. Matt Bevin said. 

TWO people were confirmed dead in today's deadly shooting in Marshall County.TWO people were confirmed dead in today's deadly shooting in Marshall County.

The shooter, a 15-year-old boy who attends the high school, was arrested by a Marshall County sheriff’s deputy and is in custody.

Six of the wounded were taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, which is about 100 miles southeast of Benton.

A 15-year-old girl died at the school and a 15-year-old boy died at the hospital, Bevin said. 

Fourteen victims were treated for gunshot wounds and five others were injured during the incident, Bevin said at a press conference. 

The shooting was reported about 8 a.m. CST, and people on the scene described a chaotic setting.

“To walk in, the backpacks laying around, the phones laying around, going off … it’s indescribable,” said Marshall County Attorney Jeffery Edwards. “I’ve been doing this for 25 years. It’s not like anything I’ve experienced in my life.”

Edwards said it did not appear the gunman targeted specific people.

The shooting occurred in the common area of the school before classes started, said Brian Roy, the former Marshall County sheriff, who has spoken with people at the scene.

The school was locked down after the shooting, and some parents tried to get inside the building, leading to arguments with law enforcement at the scene, according to a report from the Marshall County Tribune-Courier.

Local media reported students were being taken by bus to North Marshall Middle School to be picked up by family members.

Gov. Matt Bevin is scheduled to hold a press conference with Kentucky State Police at noon CST at the Marshall County Board of Education. 

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are at the high school to investigate.

Benton, a city of approximately 4,500 people, is a few miles west of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and about 20 miles southeast of Paducah.

Marshall County High School is about 35 miles southeast of Heath High School in West Paducah, where 14-year-old Michael Carneal opened fire on a group of praying students, killing three and injuring five more on Dec. 1, 1997.

By Thomas Novelly


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