Prosecutors want to charge teen as adult in deadly Kentucky high school shooting

BENTON, Ky. (WKRN) - One day after two teens were shot and killed at a Kentucky high school, prosecutors say they want to charge the student suspect as an adult.

Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnall said the case will be presented to a grand jury on Feb. 13 where a decision on how the 15-year-old will be charged will be made.

The accused student gunman, who remains in custody, entered Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, at 7:57 a.m. Tuesday and began firing.

Two students, both 15, were killed. They have since been identified by police as Bailey Nicole Holt and Preston Ryan Cope.

“We have two 15-year-old high school students killed, just showing up for school,” said Lt. Michael Webb with Kentucky State Police.

Eighteen others were injured in the mass shooting. Of those, 16 suffered gunshot wounds, while four sustained injuries while trying to escape, although exact details on how they were hurt weren’t released.

“It’s a tragedy that everyone is going to remember,” Marshall County High School student Hannah Lyles said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims,” Marshall County Superintendent Trent Lovett added.

The suspect is being held at a secure juvenile facility and will appear in court on Thursday morning.

He’s charged with two counts of murder and 12 counts of first degree assault. His name has not been released by authorities.

During a brief news conference Wednesday, Superintendent Lovett noted how the staff, administration and students at Marshall County High School handled the situation.

“[There were] several acts of heroism,” he said. “I’m very proud of them.”

It remains unknown when Marshall County High School students will return to class.

Elementary and middle school students will return on Thursday. Buses and classes will resume at their normal time. Parents will be allowed to attend class with their child if needed.

A prayer vigil was held Wednesday morning at a nearby Kentucky high school, Paducah Tilghman.

“I think prayer is just what everyone needs, especially in times like this,” student Martaj Marks said.

Marshall County High School student Guy Howes added, “I know there are other schools out there wearing our school colors, just lifting us up in prayer and it’s just beautiful. It’s what we need. It’s everything that Western Kentucky is about.”

Benton, Kentucky, is located about 120 miles northwest of Nashville. Marshall County High School has around 1,300 students and 74 teachers.

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