A school shooting in Kentucky at Marshall County High School on Tuesday morning, left 18 students injured and two dead. Prosecutors say the suspect, a 15 year old student at the school, opened fire in the common area. The victims are Bailey Nicole Holt and Preston Ryan Cope, both 15 years old. Another 14 victims were shot, while four others were injured as they tried to flee the chaotic scene. Five students are still hospitalized in critical condition. All of the victims were aged between 14 and 18.
The suspected shooter barged into the school’s common area around 8 a.m., unleashing a hail of bullets that killed Bailey Nicole Holt and Preston Ryan Cope. Secret Holt, who received a phone call from her daughter before she died, said, “All I could hear was voices and chaos in the background and she couldn’t say anything.” “I called her name over and over and she never responded, so we rushed to the high school.” After the shooting, buses took surviving students to another school, where parents waited. Secret and Jasen Holt waited for their daughter Bailey to walk off one of the buses but she never did. They were later told Bailey Holt died at the scene.
Brian Cope said he knew his son Preston was shot when he arrived at the school. He peered into an ambulance and saw the socks he laid out for his son the night before. Preston Cope, who was shot in the head and hand was airlifted to Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center, died during the flight en route to the hospital.
Gage Smock, Bailey’s boyfriend- was also shot in the head but is in stable condition. His father, Gary Wayne Smock, fought back tears as he told reporters that he’s been able to speak with his son but there’s no word from doctors on when the boy will be released from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. No other victims have been identified to the media so far.
The suspect appeared to fire his handgun at random, prosecutors said. Students tried to break down fences and gates to escape the building as shots rang out. Authorities have not identified the shooter because he is a juvenile but he has been identified as Gabe Parker, the son of an online newspaper editor. When Parker’s mother, Mary Garrison Minyard, heard gunfire had broken out at school, she rushed to the scene only to learn the suspected shooter was her own son. The suspect appeared in front of a judge at the Marshall County Judicial Center in Benton, less than five miles from the crime scene. He has been charged with two counts of murder and 12 counts of first-degree assault, according to Marshall County assistant attorney Jason Darnall, who is prosecuting the case. Darnall told reporters that his office would move to have the 15-year-old tried as an adult.
A joint visitation for Preston Ryan Cope, 15 and Bailey Nicole Holt, also 15, will be held 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Reed Conder Memorial Gymnasium at Marshall County High School.