Two students were killed at Marshall County High School in southwestern Kentucky on Tuesday morning, when a 15-year-old classmate opened fire with a handgun and shot 15 people. It was the nation’s first fatal school shooting of 2018, but the 11th time this year that gun violence threatened the lives of children in an educational facility.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said the fatal shooting, which began at 7:57 a.m., leaves a wound that will take a long time to heal. Marshall County High School in Benton, Ky.;
Kentucky State Police said 20 people were affected by the shooting, 15 of whom suffered gunshot wounds. Two of the wounded were shot in the head. The victims ranged in age from 14 to 18 years.
Police identified two 15-year-old victims as Bailey Nicole Holt, who died at the scene, and Preston Ryan Cope, who died at an area hospital.
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard Sanders says the shooter was armed with a handgun.
The suspect, who Sanders did not name, has been apprehended, and he will be charged with murder and attempted murder. Sanders says the FBI and the ATF have joined the investigation.
The superintendent of schools issued a statement Tuesday night saying the Marshall County community is “beyond words” about the incident. “I know that, as parents, our greatest fear is something happening to our children, and today that fear became a reality,” the statement read. “Our courageous faculty and staff at all levels were outstanding in their response to today’s tragedy.”
The area’s congressman, Republican U.S. Rep. James Comer, is calling the shooting a “senseless and evil attack” that “horrifies us all.” Sen. Mitch McConnell, the GOP majority leader whose home state is Kentucky, offered prayers and dispatched staff to Marshall County to confer with local officials.
Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Italy High School in Italy, Tex.; and the Net Charter School in New Orleans have all had campus shootings.
The 10th grade student attending Lincoln High School in Jersey City was shot in the foot one last week after classes were dismissed. The suspect fled the scene and no arrests have been made.
There have been about 50 school shootings in the U.S. this academic year, although some were suicides, and others resulted in no injuries.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, claimed the lives of 20 children between six and seven years old, plus six adult staff members. Since then, there have been calls for action to reduce gun violence but no federal legislation has been approved by the GOP Congress.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!