Two students dead, 17 injured in shooting at Kentucky high school

Two students dead, 17 injured in shooting at Kentucky high school

Harrison McClary

BENTON, Ky. (Reuters) - A 15-year-old boy opened fire with a handgun just before classes started at his high school in rural western Kentucky on Tuesday, killing two fellow students and wounding a dozen other youths before he was arrested, the state's governor and police said.

The shooter, who has not been identified, entered a common area at Marshall County High School in Benton shortly before 8 a.m., pulled out a pistol and began firing at students, witnesses told local media.

The suspect will be charged with two counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder, the Kentucky State Police said.

The students killed were Bailey Hope, a 15-year-old girl, and Preston Cope, a 15-year-old boy, it said. Five of the victims were in critical condition, police said, but hospital officials said they expected all those injured in the incident to survive.

"I see this guy draw from his side and he pulls out a pistol. I didn’t even know what was going on. And then it registered. About the time it registered, this guy was sitting here pulling the trigger into all of us," student Bryson Conkwright told TV station WKRN.

"I can hear the gunshots. He was shooting in our group," said Conkwright, showing where a bullet grazed his hand.

(Additional reporting by Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, N.C., Peter Szekely in New York, Suzannah Gonzales and Chris Kenning in Chicago and Ben Klayman in Detroit; Writing by Steve Gorman and Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)