BENTON, Ky. (KT) – Two teens were killed and 18 others injured when a 15-year-old boy went on a shooting rampage in a western Kentucky high school on Tuesday, authorities said.
The shooter, who attends the high school, was arrested by a Marshall County sheriff’s deputy and is in custody. Witnesses saw him being led away in handcuffs from Marshall County High School. Kentucky State Police Lt. Michael Webb said he would be charged with murder and attempted murder.
“He was apprehended by the sheriff’s department here on site, at the school, thankfully before any more lives could be taken,” Webb said.
In a news conference Tuesday evening, KSP reported Bailey Nicole Holt and Preston Ryan Cope, both 15, were the two students who died.
Holt was killed at the scene of the shooting and Cope was pronounced dead at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
The shooter’s identity or motive were not released by authorities at the press conference. They do believe the shooting was the work of only the one shooter.
The two deaths was first released by Gov. Matt Bevin at a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Marshall County school board offices. Bevin rushed to the scene from the Capitol after learning of the horrific news.
Twelve victims were treated for gunshot wounds and five others were injured during the incident, Bevin said. The shooting was reported about 8 a.m. CST.
Six of the wounded students were taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which is about 100 miles from the scene, according to an Associated Press report.
“This is a wound that is going to take a long time to heal, and, for some, will never heal,” Bevin told reporters.
Local businessman Mitchell Garland said students fled in terror from the school, some speeding away in cars, others on foot.
“They was running and crying and screaming,” Garland told The Associated Press. “They was just kids running down the highway. They were trying to get out of there."
Emergency responders were on the scene within 7 minutes of the first 911 call, said Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard Sanders. Ambulances and police cars converged on the school and officers wearing black fatigues carrying assault rifles were on the scene.
Tuesday's shooting happened as students gathered in a common area just before classes began. Sixteen-year-old Lexie Waymon told the AP said she and a friend were talking about the next basketball game, makeup and eyelashes when they heard the first gunshots.
"I blacked out,” she told the AP. “I couldn't move. I got up and I tried to run, but I fell. I heard someone hit the ground. It was so close to me. I just heard it, and then I just, everything was black for a good minute. Like, I could not see anything. I just froze and did not know what to do. Then I got up and I ran."
A Marshall County deputy apprehended the alleged shooter, according to state police, about 10:26 a.m., roughly 15 minutes after saying the scene was secure.
Webb said the Marshall County sheriff’s deputy disrupted the shooting. “There is no way to know how much further it would have went,” he said about the sheriff’s deputy’s heroic actions.
Sanders said the school had recently gone through active shooter training. “The students at the school did exactly as they were trained,” he said.
Schools, churches and community groups in the Marshall County area were already planning vigils to honor the victims.
“It is unbelievable that this would happen in a small, close-knit community like Marshall County,” Bevin said.
Marshall County is about 30 miles southeast of Heath High School in West Paducah, a 14-year-old opened fire in 1997, killing three and injuring five others.
Tuesday's rampage happened just days after the 25th anniversary of a shooting at East Carter High School in eastern Kentucky, where a student shot a teacher and custodian and held his classmates hostage.