By: CBS News, Associated Press
January 23, 2018
BENTON, Ky. -- A 15-year-old boy shot 14 people Tuesday morning at a southwestern Kentucky high school, Governor Matt Bevin said. A 15-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl died.
Five others suffered non-gunshot injuries, the governor said. The suspect in the incident at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, has been apprehended, according to officials with Marshall County Emergency Management. It was the nation's first fatal school shooting of 2018.
Police were seen leading a teenager away in handcuffs. The shooter will be charged with murder and attempted murder, Kentucky State Police Lt. Michael Webb said.
"He was apprehended by the sheriff's department here on site, at the school, thankfully before any more lives could be taken," Webb said.
Police did not release any identities, nor did they describe a motive. Webb said detectives are looking into his home and background.
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard Sanders said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon that the suspect, a student, entered the school at 7:57 a.m. and soon opened fire with a handgun. Sanders said the first 911 call came in two minutes later, and police were on scene by 8:06 a.m.
A law enforcement tells CBS News' senior investigative producer Pat Milton that the shooting suspect entered the school and appeared to shoot randomly. Investigators have not established a motive at this time, Milton reports.
A Marshall County deputy apprehended the shooter. One of the two deceased victims, the 15-year-old girl, died at the scene, Bevin said during the press conference. The other deceased victim passed away at a hospital. He was one of five students flown to the nearest Level 1 trauma center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
The boy died of a "non-survivable gunshot wound to the brain," trauma doctors there said. The others who were air-lifted to Vanderbilt, all males between the ages of 15 and 18, are expected to survive and doing "quite well," trauma surgeon Oscar Guillamondegui told reporters.
Two of the wounded had gunshot wounds to the head, one had an arm injury and another had an injury to the chest and abdomen, Guillamondegui said.
Bevin lauded the officers who rushed to the scene, saying they prevented the shooter from killing more people.
"(They) ensured that this was not a more painful incident than what has occurred," Bevin said.
The shooting happened as students gathered in a common area, just before the day's first classes. Sixteen-year-old Lexie Waymon said she and a friend were talking about the next basketball game, makeup and eyelashes when gunshots pierced the air.
"I blacked out. I couldn't move. I got up and I tried to run, but I fell. I heard someone hit the ground. It was so close to me," Waymon said. "I just heard it and then I just, everything was black for a good minute. Like, I could not see anything. I just froze and did not know what to do. Then I got up and I ran."
Waymon did not stop running, not even when she called her mom to tell her what happened. She made it to the McDonald's, her chest hurting, struggling to breathe. "All I could keep thinking was, 'I can't believe this is happening. I cannot believe this is happening,'" she said.
Nearly 100 children ran out of Marshall County High School seeking safety, said Mitchell Garland, who rushed outside of his business when he heard about the shooting.
"They was running and crying and screaming," Garland told The Associated Press. "They was just kids running down the highway. They were trying to get out of there."
A half-dozen ambulances and numerous police cars converged on the school. Officers in black fatigues carrying assault rifles showed up as well. Federal authorities also responded, and Bevin ran out of the Capitol to rush to the school. Parents left their cars on both sides of an adjacent road, desperately trying to find their children.
The Marshall County Tribune-Courier reports students were being bused late Tuesday morning to nearby North Marshall Middle School, where parents could pick them up.
Marshall County High School is about 30 minutes from Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky, where a 1997 mass shooting killed three and injured five. Michael Carneal, then 14, opened fire there about two years before the fatal attack at Columbine High School in Colorado, ushering in an era when mass school shootings have become much more common.
Meanwhile, in the small North Texas town of Italy, a 15-year-old girl was recovering Tuesday after police said she was shot by a 16-year-old classmate in her high school cafeteria on Monday, sending dozens of students scrambling for safety.
The scene of Tuesday's shooting was chaotic, with parents and students rushing around trying to find each other, said Dusty Kornbacher, who owns a nearby floral shop.
"All the parking lots were full with parents and kids hugging each other and crying and nobody really knowing what was going on," Kornbacher said.
Barry Mann said his 14-year-old son was put on a bus and taken to another school for him to pick up.
"He gave me a call as soon as he run out the door and I didn't know what was happening to him," he told the AP. "It sounded like his heart was in his throat."
Garland said his son, a 16-year-old sophomore, jumped into someone's car and sped away before reaching his office.
"Everyone is just scared. Just terrified for their kids," Garland said. "We're a small town and we know a lot of the kids."