On Tuesday, gunfire erupted inside Marshall County High School, located in Kentucky, at around 8 AM in the school's common area. Details about the tragedy have been unfolding over the past day. Two 15-year-olds are dead, and 18 other people are injured after a 15-year-old boy opened fire. The victims ranged from 14 to 18, reported CNN.
Two 15-year-olds have been identified.
Bailey Nicole Holt, 15, died at the school. Preston Ryan Cope, 15, died later at a hospital, Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard Sanders said at a press conference on Tuesday evening.
"Bailey Holt and Preston [C]ope were two great people, I have never heard one negative thing come from their mouths. I'm glad we made the memories we did with each other. It hurts knowing we won't be able to share the laughs anymore," said friend Gabbi Buyers in a Facebook post.
There are multiple wounded people.
According to NBC News, 16 of the 18 wounded were hurt by gunfire. The others were hurt while fleeing. Three of the victims were listed in critical condition as of Tuesday night. One of the wounded is a special needs student who may need to have his arm amputated. His mother told CNN that a classmate and teacher pulled him to safety.
“Teachers love him,” his mother said. “Students love him. I don't think [anyone] can say one bad thing about him. And that's not because I'm his mom. Everybody loves him."
The suspect is in custody.
The suspected shooter, a 15-year-old boy, was arrested at the scene, and police say he will be charged with murder and attempted murder. The minor's name is being withheld until his indictment.
“He was apprehended by the sheriff’s department here on site, at the school, thankfully before any more lives could be taken,” Kentucky State Police Lt. Michael Webb said. According to the press conference, the suspect was arrested at the school in a “non-violent” manner.
One student, who witnessed the shooting, told WTSP what she saw.
"He was determined. He knew what he was doing," said Alexandria Caporali. "It was one right after another — bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. You could see his arm jerking as he was pulling the trigger."
Caporali told USA Today that she didn't hear anybody scream: "It was almost completely silent as people just ran."
She grabbed a classmate, and together they hid in a classroom.
Students hid in the woods and ran to the highway.
Many students running for their lives didn’t stop until they felt safe. After shots ran out, many bystanders ran for their lives. Some didn’t stop running until they reached a nearby highway, the Associated Press reported. Others ran to nearby businesses for shelter.
“They was running and crying and screaming,” Mitchell Garland told the Associated Press. He let over 50 students hide inside his business. “Everyone is just scared. Just terrified for their kids. We’re a small town and we know a lot of the kids.”
Others ran to a wooded area located near the school.
The shooting is part of a troubling statistic.
The school is just under a 40-minute drive from Heath High School, home of a 1997 shooting that killed three and injured five. Over 20 years ago, 14-year-old Michael Carneal opened fire at a prayer group in that school.
Tuesday’s shooting comes just one day after another school shooting in Italy, Texas, where a 15-year-old female student was shot by a 16-year-old male classmate inside their high school cafeteria. The victim had to be airlifted to a hospital. The suspect was apprehended after fleeing the scene.
"Our nation's schools should be some of the safest spaces in our communities," said Gabby Giffords, former congresswoman-turned-activist, according to NBC News. She pointed out that there have been 13 mass shootings already this year. "And it's only January."
Gifford herself was once shot in a 2011 mass shooting along with 18 others during a constituent meeting held in a Arizona supermarket parking lot. Six people died in that tragedy.