BENTON, Ky. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 15-year-old student will be charged with murder after two people were killed and 19 others wounded in a high school shooting in rural Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin said.
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, it was a scene of chaos Tuesday morning at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, after police said the armed student burst inside and started shooting.
“I heard what I thought was banging on like a locker or something. I just thought it was a fight or something like that. Then I heard everybody else screaming, and they all started running, and then, you know, I saw there was a lot of blood everywhere and then people were getting shoved down, so I just, you know, I took off,” said high school senior Jason Hall.
“My daughter was standing by the commons where they gather out in the morning,” one woman said, “and she heard gunshots, and I taught my children, ‘If you hear anything, get out of the school,’ and she ran as far as she could.”
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard Sanders said two 15-year-old students were killed and 14 more were wounded by gunshots.
A girl, identified as Bailey Nicole Holt, was pronounced dead at the scene, Sanders said. Meanwhile, six gunshot patients were taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, and one – a boy – died, Sanders said.
The boy who died was identified as Preston Ryan Cope.
As of early Thursday evening, five people remained hospitalized in critical condition.
Five more students were injured while trying to escape the gunfire, Sanders said.
“These are sad times for all of us. We received five patients today from the scene – all males ranging in age from 15 to 18. We had three injuries with gunshot wounds to the head,” a Vanderbilt doctor said.
The shooter was apprehended without incident by a sheriff’s officer who was the first to arrive at the scene, Sanders said.
“The shooter was a student,” Bevin said. “That student was apprehended at the scene, in a non-violent apprehension.”
Authorities believe the suspect acted alone.
“This situation was disruptive,” said Kentucky State Police Lt. Michael Webb. “There’s no way to know, at this point, how much further it would have went.”
The alleged gunman is expected to be charged with murder and attempted murder, while parents are trying to cope.
“The part that’s bad is because you don’t know,” one woman said. “You know, you have no idea. And that’s the worst, you know, not knowing, ‘Is my child OK?’ And it’s bad. It’s horrible.”
Sanders also emphasized the human toll the incident took on those who lost loved ones and also on first responders.
“One of our first troopers to arrive on the scene saw the young lady that died there on the scene, and thought it was his daughter, because she had been dropped off at the school this morning as well,” Sanders said. “Same clothing descriptions, same description, and then he had to go over to convince himself that it was not his daughter.”
Late Tuesday, there was no word yet on a motive.
The shooting marks the first fatal school shooting the nation has seen this year.
According to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, there has been one other school shooting this year that resulted in injuries. That one happened Monday when a 15-year-old girl was injured after police say a 16-year-old classmate shot her while they were in the high school cafeteria in Italy, Texas.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)