2 dead, 19 injured in Kentucky high school shooting; suspect in custody

Posted at 3:30 PM, Jan 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-23 10:42:18-05

BENTON, KY (KFVS) - Two students have died in a school shooting at Marshall County High School in western Kentucky on Tuesday morning.

The victims were a 15-year-old male and a 15-year-old female.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said shooter also was a 15-year-old male student, during a joint news conference with the Kentucky State Police. He said 14 others received gunshot wounds and 5 other students received non-gunshot related injuries.

Nineteen people were injured overall. 

"This is a wound that is going to take a long time to heal, and for some in this community will never heal," Bevin said. 

The shooting

At 7:57 a.m. the gunman entered the school.

Police received the first 911 call at 7:59 a.m.

Less than 10 minutes after, first responders arrived on the scene.

The female student died at the scene, while the male student died after being flown to a hospital. Bevin said at least five other victims had been flown to regional hospitals for treatment.

The shooter will be charged with murder and attempted murder.

Kentucky State Police said the investigation was ongoing, but the suspect has been taken into custody at the school and the scene was secure. Bevin said the suspect was detained in a non-violent manner.

The identities of the victims and the suspected shooter have not been released by authorities.

There were five male patients taken to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, TN.  Their ages ranged from 15-18-years-old.

Three teenagers had gunshot wounds to the head, one to the arm, and another to the chest and stomach. 

One did not survive. 

Students have been transported to North Marshall Middle School. Parents are being told to pick up their students there, according to a post on the school's Facebook page.

One student said they could never look at the school the same way again.


Parents of the victims have been notified.

People were asked not to call the school or Marshall County Dispatch.

Kentucky State Police said anyone with a vehicle parked on the high school's property will be allowed to pick up their vehicle at 4 p.m. today. They can pick up their vehicle at the Highway 68 entrance. If the keys to your vehicle are inside the building, you must bring a second set, as you will not be allowed to enter any buildings on the campus.

The investigation

Officials with the Kentucky State Police along with the FBI are handling the investigation. They were assisted by the Marshall County Sheriff's Department and the McCracken County Sheriff's Department.

The investigation will include looking into the teen’s home life, along with interviews with student witnesses and others in the are when it happened.

The entire school is being treated as a “dynamic crime scene”.  The entrance is currently blocked off.  Investigators expect their work will take several days.

The Kentucky State Police Commissioner said the event struck the heart of Kentucky.

McCracken County officials have deputies at all area schools to help ease any fears according to Sheriff Jon Hayden.

Community responses

Marshall County High School is home of the Marshals.  It is an extremely tight-knit community. 

High school football and basketball games are a community event.  The stands are always full of parents, grandparents, former students and teachers.

A recent report on school performance reports 1369 students enrolled.  94% graduation rate.

Several churches and schools will hold prayer vigils and services to pray for the victims to cope with the tragedy. CLICK HERE for a list.

The Kentucky Education Association said leaders and staff are just learning the details. 

KEA leaders and staff are just learning details of the unfolding tragedy in Marshall County. We know that this kind of senseless, preventable violence will have a profound and lasting impact on the entire community, as was the case in West Paducah and too many other communities where students, faculty and staff have been assaulted.

KEA President Stephanie Winkler said, “We are saddened by the news from Marshall County. Our prayers and our thoughts are with everyone there who has been affected. Every student deserves a safe place to learn and employees deserve a safe place to work.”

KEA and NEA will continue to reach out to members, friends and colleagues in the Marshall County Schools to offer help and support through the difficult weeks and months ahead.

Superintendent Joshua W. Stafford of Vienna High School released a statement about the situation just to the south of Vienna, Illinois. 

"We are aware that there has been an active shooter event at Marshall County School which is about 45 minutes south of us. As confirmed via our local law enforcement the shooter has been apprehended. We are in constant contact with local authorities and, as already is a frequent practice, we will have uniformed officers on campus and around the school. Everyone's vigilance in safety matters is key. If you hear or see something never hesitate to say something. Preventing and or responding to these situations require you and the entire community to be active and engaged.

We do appreciate the continued efforts of local law enforcement, school staff, the school safety team, the early intervention team, and the entire community for the numerous trainings, communication enhancements, and collaboration of resources that have have and continue to develop in our efforts to keep everyone safe and prepared.

If you have any questions or concerns please let me know. Thank you." - Joshua W. Stafford, Superintendent 

The Kentucky Department of Education is reaching out to Marshall County school officials with support.

Responses from officials

Kentucky Governor Bevin released a statement after his press conference.

"This is a tremendous tragedy and speaks to the heartbreak present in our communities. It is unbelievable that this would happen in a small, close-knit community like Marshall County. As there is much unknown, I encourage people to love on each other at this time. Do not speculate, but come alongside each other in support and allow the facts to come out." -Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin