A 15-year-old student at Marshall County High School opened fire on Tuesday, January 23, 2018. He killed two of his fellow students, both also 15 years old, and injuring 18. The shooter used a handgun. There is no known motive and the shooter hasn’t been identified, but the shooter will be tried as an adult.
Western Kentucky is no stranger to this sort of horrific crime. Not too far away in Paducah, Kentucky a freshman opened fire on a prayer group in 1997. This shooter, who I refuse to name, is still in jail today and was also tried as an adult.
I know what comes next. We all know what comes next. There is no legislation that could have prevented this. In the state of Kentucky, you cannot buy bullets and you cannot buy a handgun until you are 21.
People will try to paint us as a bunch of gun-toting hillbillies with bad grammar and no teeth. Despite what people may think about us in Kentucky, those depicted in shows like Moonshiners do not accurately portray us. We are not uncivilized and uneducated hillbillies. We work hard and take care of our own, our state pride is unlike any other. This teenager does not represent us.
Marshall County’s assault rate per capita and total number of assaults reported are below the 75th percentile, putting Marshall County with the counties that have the lowest assault rate in the state, the same goes for homicide. This comes from the Kentucky State Police report for 2016. This teenager clearly doesn’t represent the rest of his county. Let’s focus on teaching our children and our educators how to recognize the signs of a troubled student. Let’s advocate for more police officers in our schools and advocate for metal detectors in all of our schools.
The two victims who lost their lives were 15-year-old Bailey Nicole Holt and 15-year-old Preston Ryan Cope. Bailey Holt had called her mom as she was dying. Her mother recalls hearing chaos in the background and her daughter couldn’t say a word. "Whatever that kid had going through his mind, I don't know... But if he needed a friend, I know she would've been a friend to him and talked to him about anything he needed, because that's just the kind of person she was," the mother of Bailey Holt told ABC News.