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Kentucky school shooting takes two lives, scars too many

Kentucky+Governor+Matt+Bevin+ordered+the+state+flag+to+fly+at+half+mast+in+response+to+the+tragedy.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin ordered the state flag to fly at half mast in response to the tragedy.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin ordered the state flag to fly at half mast in response to the tragedy.

published under fair use

published under fair use

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin ordered the state flag to fly at half mast in response to the tragedy.

Olivia Marnell, Staff writer

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A school shooting in a small Kentucky town last week once again saw the tragic loss of innocent lives. Around 8:00 a.m. on Jan 23, an unidentified 15-year-old student entered Marshall County High School and opened fire in the school’s common area with a handgun before officers showed up at the scene.

He shot randomly at people in the atrium. Witnesses noted that he seemed to hesitate after the first shot, but continued until he ran out of ammunition. He then attempted to run and escape but was apprehended and taken away in handcuffs by the police.

At the sound of gunshots, chaos ensued as hundreds of students attempted to run out of the school at the same time, not hesitating to break down fences and gates on their way out. They ran down nearby highways trying desperately to escape. Some were put on buses to other schools, others jumped into the nearest car they could find and sped off.

Many statements came directly from the students themselves, including that of 16-year-old Alexandria Caporali whose brief but chilling description made headlines.

“No one screamed,” Caporali said in a USA Today. “It was almost completely silent as people just ran.”

One of the students, 16-year-old Lexie Waymon recounted her initial reaction to hearing the shots when mid-conversation with peer Baleigh Culp.

“I blacked out,” Waymon said in an interview with CBS News. “I couldn’t move. I got up and tried to run, but I fell. I heard someone hit the ground. It was so close to me.”

After she came to, she recalled getting up and running out onto the highway and not stopping until she reached a nearby McDonald’s, over a mile away from the school.

Between 50 and 100 students also took shelter in a cleaning business storefront after owner Mitchell Garland rallied them inside. Amongst the students was his own 16-year-old son.

“Everyone is just scared. Just terrified for their kids,” Garland said to CBS News. “We’re a small town and we know a lot of the kids.”

Among the 17 people injured in the incident, two students passed away. Bailey Nicole Holt died at the scene and Preston Ryan Cope died later in the hospital from head trauma, both students just 15 years old.

Marshall County Attorney Jeff Edwards, who also graduated from Marshall County High School, was simple yet truthful in how he noted how this tragedy will affect the kids who ran for their lives, the families of those affected, and the entire surrounding community.

“This is something that they will never forget,” Edwards said to Paducah Patch. “It will be with them forever.”

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Kentucky school shooting takes two lives, scars too many