WASHINGTON: A teenage boy opened fire with a handgun at a Kentucky high school early Tuesday, killing two fellow students and wounding more than a dozen people in the latest mass shooting to hit the United States, reports AFP.
The unnamed 15-year-old student, now in custody, is alleged to have carried out the attack at Marshall County High School in Benton, a small town in western Kentucky.Two students of the same age died of gunshot wounds, while 13 other people were shot and five suffered other injuries during the shooting, Kentucky State Police said, adding that those hurt ranged in age from 14 to 18 years old.
Students ran from the scene after hearing shots, local media reported, and the school was placed on lockdown as the incident unfolded.
They were later bused to a neighboring school where parents could retrieve them, the Marshall County Tribune-Courier newspaper said.
Fourteen of those hurt were male and six were female. Four of them are still in hospital—three in “critical but stable” condition and one in “stable” condition, according to police.
The suspected shooter was apprehended in a “non-violent” manner, and will be charged with both two counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said.
One of the students died at the scene and the other after being taken to a hospital. The shooter struck just as the school day was starting.“The incident began at 7:57 am (1357 GMT) when a 15-year-old student armed with a handgun entered the high school and started shooting,” Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders said.
A 911 emergency call was placed soon after, and first responders were at the scene by 8:06 am, he said.
The suspect “was apprehended by the sheriff’s office officer that was the first to arrive,” Sanders said.
State police had recently been in the area “teaching students and faculty how to respond to an active shooter situation, and everybody in that high school reacted appropriately,” he said.
An “SRO,” or “School Resource Officer”—a law enforcement officer responsible for safety at the school—was present.
“The SRO that was assigned to the school went through a tough time this morning,” Sanders said, but did not provide further information on the officer’s actions during the shooting.
“This is a tremendous tragedy and speaks to the heartbreak present in our communities,” Bevin said a statement. “It is unbelievable that this would happen in a small, close-knit community like Marshall County.”
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a group that works to reduce gun violence, the most recent school shooting in Kentucky occurred in September 2014, when one student shot and wounded another in the hallway of Fern Creek High School in Louisville.