Last November, when students at Marshall County High School went through an active shooter training, nobody imagined they would have to put it in practice two months later.
But when the unthinkable happened on Tuesday morning, and a 15-year-old student went on a shooting rampage, the training for students and staffs was put into play.
Two students were killed and 18 wounded, but the preparation may have kept the incident from being worse. Many students ran for cover after hearing the gunshots, some as much as a mile down the highway to a local McDonald's, and others sought cover in nearby businesses or barricaded themselves in classrooms.
“Students at the school did exactly as they were trained,” Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard Sanders said. “The Kentucky State Police has been in this area recently teaching students and faculty how to respond to an active shooter situation. Everybody in that high school reacted appropriately.”
Sanders said there was also a resource officer at Marshall County when the shooting happened.
A Marshall County sheriff’s deputy was able to disrupt the shooter, preventing more carnage, officials said, about 10:26 a.m., roughly 15 minutes after saying the scene was secure.
“There is no way to know how much further it would have went,” said Kentucky State Police Lt. Michael Webb.
"I know that, as parents, our greatest fear is something happening to our children, and today that fear became a reality," Marshall County Schools Superintendent Trent Lovett said in a statement on Twitter.
Lovett praised the faculty and staff for their "outstanding" response to the incident as well as first responders for their "quick action."
"I ask you all as a community to wrap your arms around these families and around these students, as you always have," Lovett said in the statement. "We deeply appreciate the outpouring of support that we have received from colleagues and communities across the state and the nation. Our children are our future, our greatest gift, and our foremost priority. Hold your children close tonight as you gather together at vigils, churches, and homes and please bear with us as we struggle to return to some sense of normalcy. Together with the community we will begin the long healing process within our schools. God be with us all."
This was not Kentucky’s first school shooting. Twenty years ago, there was a school shooting where two were killed and seven others injured at Heath High School, about 35 miles from Marshall County. Heath High School was the worst high school shooting in Kentucky’s history, until Tuesday.
Twenty-five years ago last week, two were killed at a school shooting at East Carter High School in Grayson.
Here are four school shootings in the past 25 years.
Jan. 18, 1993: East Carter High School in Grayson. Scott Pennington, a 17-year-old student, fatally shot his 48-year-old English teacher, Deanna McDavid, and 52-year-old head custodian, Marvin Hicks. Pennington was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Dec. 1, 1997: Heath High School in West Paducah. Three students were killed and five wounded by 14-year-old Michael Carneal, as they participated in a prayer circle. Carneal was sentenced to life in prison.
Jan. 5, 2013: Hazard Community and Technical College in Hazard. Dalton Stidham, 21, used a semi-automatic pistol he bought earlier in the day to shoot and kill his former girlfriend Caitlin Cornett, 20, her uncle Jackie Cornett, 53, and her 12-year-old cousin in the school parking lot. He later turned himself into police.
Sept. 30, 2014: Fern Creek Traditional High School in Louisville. One student was injured in the shooting. The incident occurred around 1 p.m., reportedly after student became enraged in a hallway and pulled out a gun. The student was arrested later that day.