cope holt

UPDATE: MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. (1/26/18) — Kentucky State Police has completed processing the crime scene at Marshall County High School and has turned over the property to the school district.

There are three of the injured students remain hospitalized, said KSP.

KSP Critical Incident Team is continuing its investigation along with local, state and federal agencies.

SurfKY News

UPDATE: MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. (1/25/18) – The following is a statement issued by the Kentucky State Police today:

"Kentucky State Police is appealing to the media and general public to allow privacy for families impacted by this week’s tragic shooting in Marshall County.
"Families of Marshall County students have contacted KSP with serious privacy concerns, particularly in regard to their minor children — many of whom are still recovering from psychological trauma and physical injuries.
"They report that members of the public and media have made excessive attempts to contact them in recent days, requesting private information and interviews. Families have also endured negative and inappropriate comments on social media.
"KSP asks all members of the media and public to respect the dignity and privacy of the victims and their families.
One of the families has asked KSP to release the following statement on their behalf: 'Please stop calling and texting us, especially our minor children who are victims. It is inappropriate and hurtful to our already grieving families.'

At the Marshall County Courthouse today, Assistant County Attorney Jason Darnall read a prepared statement after the first court appearance of the 15-year-old male accused of shooting students at Marshall County High School Jan. 23.

Darnall said the accused has been ordered detained to be handled by the Department of Juvenile Justice. The County Attorney's Office is asking the teen be tried as an adult and the case transferred to the Marshall County Circuit Court at a later date.

Rita Dukes Smith
SurfKY News Director
Region 3 Vice President
Photos Courtesy of Marshall County Daily News



UPDATE: MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. (1/24/18) 1:13 p.m. — Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnell said in a press conference today that the 15-year-old male in custody has been charged with two counts of murder and is expected to be charged with 12 counts of first-degree assault, which carries the same penalties as attempted murder.

Darnell said paperwork is being filed to charge the male as a youthful offender, which means he can be charged as an adult.

A Marshall County Grand Jury will finalize the charges when it convenes Feb. 13. Everything related to the case is to be considered part of the investigation, said Darnell, and remains confidential.

Marshall County Schools Superintendent Trent Lovette spoke to the media saying the staff, administration and students handled themselves phenomenally during the incident yesterday at the school.

Rita Dukes Smith


Kentucky State Police released the names of the two fatalities from yesterday morning's school shooting in Benton.

KSP said Marshall County High School students Bailey Holt died at the scene and Preston Cope died at Vanderbilt Universtiy Medical Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee from gunshot wounds received during the early morning tragedy. Both were 15 years old.

Authorities have not yet named the 15-year-old boy accused of the shooting. Gov. Matt Bevin said in a press conference this morning that the accused is expected to be charged with murder and attempted murder.

The number of people affected by the shooting was 20. There were 16 that suffered gunshot wounds including the two fatalities. Five were transported to Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee and the remainder were taken to local hospitals. Victims ranged in age from 14 - 18 years old. There were 14 male victims and six female. Of the four remaining victims at Vanderbilt, three are in critical but stable condition and one is in stable condition.

A counseling center will be open from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. today at the old Pepsi Bottling Plant at  153 Kentucky 641 North, Benton. A family resource center has been set up at the Kentucky Agriculture Extension Office at 1533 Mayfield Highway, Benton. There is no school in Marshall County today.

The investigation is being led by the Kentucky State Police Critical Incident Response Team  with assistance from local and federal agencies.

Rita Dukes Smith

SurfKY News Director

UPDATE MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. (1/23/18) 12:39 p.m. — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's voice broke in mid-sentence as he told about the students that died in the Marshall County High School shooting this morning.

Bevin said a 15-year-old girl died at the scene and a 15-year-old boy died at a level one trauma center. Both suffered gunshot wounds.

Bevin confirmed 14 students were shot and five more received injuries. Two of the gunshot victims are the girl and boy that died.

The 15-year-old accused shooter is a male that was apprehended at the scene by the Marshall County Sheriff's Office. He said it is expected for the accused to be charged with murder and attempted murder.

Bevin and Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders told media gathered shortly after noon at the Marshall County Board of Education office that all information that could be disseminated would be shared. No questions were allowed and Bevin begged everyone to be mindful and respectful of the families, victims and community as it deals with the tragedy.

Sanders said it was 7:57 a.m. when the student shooter walked into the school with a handgun. The first 911 call was received at 7:59 a.m. and the first responder was on the scene at 8:06 a.m.

KSP is in charge of the investigation and its Critical Incident Response Team is on scene.

Rita Dukes Smith

SurfKY News Director

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. (1/23/18) — Kentucky State Police has confirmed a shooting this morning at Marshall County High School.

KSP said there are multiple victims and one is dead. The scene is secured.

According to a Tweet from Gov. Matt Bevin, a suspect is in custody.

WPSD Local 6 is reporting that students are being bused to North Marshall Middle School, where parents may pick them up, and that at least three victims have been taken to the hospital. One victim was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, according to WPSD.

U.S. Rep. James Comer’s Senior Field Representative, Martie Wiles, has been with local officials in Marshall County all morning and has been keeping the Congressman updated. Comer issued the following statement on the horrific shooting tragedy at Marshall County High School:

“This morning’s senseless and evil attack in Marshall County is news that horrifies us all. My thoughts & prayers are with the students and faculty at Marshall County High School where there has been a tragic school shooting. I stand with the school, first responders and the entire Marshall County community, we are all united with you today.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the tragedy at Marshall County High School in western Kentucky:

“First, this morning began with reports of a tragedy at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky. State officials have reported at least one confirmed death and several injuries. My staff in western Kentucky is at the high school and is in close contact with local officials. They are monitoring the situation and will be providing me with updates throughout the day.

“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. Our hearts are with the entire community in Marshall County. And our gratitude is with the first responders who rush into harm’s way.”

There is a press conference to take place at the Marshall County Board of Education office at noon, according to KSP Detective Jody Cash, KSP public affairs officer, who was dispatched to the area. Bevin is expected to be at the conference.

This story will be updated when more information is available.

Rita Dukes Smith
SurfKY News Director
Region 3 Vice President

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