Kentucky shooting was 3rd at a U.S. school this week

The headline in the New York Times about Tuesday’s deadly school shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, Ky., where two students were killed and 16 others injured, included a shocking statistic:

According to the Times, Tuesday’s shooting was one of at least 11 on school property since Jan. 1, and “roughly the 50th of the academic year.” It was also the third this week, which is only half over. On Monday, a 15-year-old girl was injured in a shooting at a high school in Italy, Texas, and a 14-year-old boy was wounded at a New Orleans charter school after police say someone in a pickup truck opened fire at a group of students in the parking lot.

“We have absolutely become numb to these kinds of shootings,” Katherine Schweit, a former senior FBI official and security consultant who studies active shootings, told the newspaper. “And I think that will continue.”

Officials say two people were killed and 16 others wounded in the shooting, which began just before 8 a.m. at the Kentucky school; 15-year-old Bailey Nicole Holt died at the scene; Preston Ryan Cope, also 15, was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, where he died as a result of his injuries.

According to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, the suspected shooter, a 15-year-old male student, was taken into custody by police. Kentucky State Police commissioner Rick Sanders said the suspect, whose name has not been released, will be charged with two counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder.

“Today, America again witnessed another deadly school shooting,” Sandy Hook Promise, a group that was formed by parents of children killed in the 2012 school shootings in Newtown, Conn., said in a statement on Tuesday. “This is unacceptable. We understand that these horrific incidents can make one feel helpless and hopeless, however, we must come together to take real action to keep our children safe.”

“It’s horrifying that we can no longer call school shootings ‘unimaginable,’ because the reality is they happen with alarming frequency,” Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman, a mass shooting survivor and founder of a gun violence prevention group, said in a statement of her own.

“We know how to solve this problem,” Giffords added. “Congress can protect our kids in their classrooms, in the cafeteria, and on the playground — but to do that, they must strengthen our gun laws.”

Students embrace after a prayer vigil in Paducah, Ky., on Wednesday, in honor of the victims of the Marshall County High School shooting the day before. (Ryan Hermens/The Paducah Sun via AP)

The scene in Benton, Ky., occurred less than 25 miles from Paducah, where three people were killed and five wounded in a 1997 high school shooting that is considered to be the first modern mass shooting at a U.S. school.

“In my whole life, it had never crossed my mind” that someone would shoot up a school, Heath High School Principal Bill Bond said late last year in a local TV interview marking the shooting’s 20th anniversary. “Now, there’s not a high school principal in the nation that … it doesn’t flick in his mind sometime every day.”

The shooting in Kentucky was briefly mentioned by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders at the top of Tuesday’s daily press briefing.

“The president has been briefed on the shooting at Marshall County High School,” Sanders said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families there, and we offer our sincerest appreciation to the heroic Marshall County deputy who apprehended the shooter.”

Vice President Mike Pence addressed the shooting after returning from a diplomatic trip to the Middle East.

“We grieve with the people of Kentucky who seek comfort & healing during this moment of heartbreak,” Pence tweeted on Wednesday. “These acts of evil & senseless violence must end. We commend the courageous and heroic acts of law enforcement who responded quickly and are grateful for their efforts.”

But the shooting has not been mentioned by President Trump on Twitter.

On Tuesday afternoon, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he had called Bevin to offer his condolences.

Trump said he did so on Wednesday.

But when pressed by NBC’s Peter Alexander about what the president has done specifically to curb gun violence, Sanders did not answer directly.

“The president believes that all Americans deserve to be safe in their schools and their communities,” Sanders said.

Trump, she said, has ordered the Department of Justice to “crack down on crime,” including violence in schools.

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