By Sara Shayanian – UPI
Authorities have named the two teenage students who were killed by gunfire at a Kentucky high school.
Bailey Nicole Holt died at the scene and Preston Ryan Cope at a hospital, Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders said. Both students were 15 years old.
Of the 18 injured, four of them are in critical condition. They range in age from 14 to 18 and include 14 boys and six girls total.
Many of the injured students were taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where three boys had gunshot wounds to the head, one boy an arm wound and another shot in the chest and abdomen, officials said. The boy with the arm wound, a special needs student, may have to have the limb amputated.
The shooting occurred just before 8 a.m. Tuesday at the southwestern Kentucky school. A 15-year-old boy was taken into custody and will be charged with two counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder, Sanders confirmed.
Sanders said that one of the first reconsiders at the scene, though that Holt was his daughter.
“He had to go over to convince himself it was not his daughter,” he said.
“To walk in, the backpacks laying around, the phones laying around, going off … it’s indescribable,” Marshall County Attorney Jeffrey Edwards said. “I’ve been doing this for 25 years. It’s not like anything I’ve experienced in my life.”
Students were seen running down U.S. highway 68, located in front of school, to search for their parents after the shooting.
“Just the looks on their faces, it just kind of sticks with you,” Mark Garland, an auto shop owner near the school, said.
One girl, who was close enough to the shooting scene that she saw bullets pinging off the walls, could barely speak, Garland said.
Government officials quickly condemned the shooting.
“I know I speak for communities across my home state in sending prayers of comfort and healing to students, faculty and everyone affected by this violence,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. “Our hearts are with the entire community of Marshall County and our gratitude is with the first responders who rushed into harm’s way.”
“Our nation’s schools should be some of the safest spaces in our communities,” former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a survivor of gun violence, said. “Why do we keep allowing this terror to happen? … It’s horrifying that we can no longer call school shootings ‘unimaginable’ because the reality is they happen with alarming frequency.”