Alleged Shooter, Victims Idenfied Following Slayings at Eastern Kentucky School

Jan 16, 2013

The scene at Hazard Community and Technical College Tuesday night

New details are emerging from Tuesday's deadly shooting at an eastern Kentucky community college.

A gunman fired into a vehicle, killing a man and a woman and wounding a 12-year-old girl late Tuesday, and police have charged a 21-year-old with murder and attempted murder in the incident, blaming it on a domestic dispute.

The violence in a college parking lot locked down the campus for more than an hour as police searched the two buildings of Hazard Community and Technical College in Hazard, in southeast Kentucky. The campus was closed Wednesday.

Hazard police Chief Minor Allen said Wednesday that Dalton Stidham, 21, was charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Allen said the shooting resulted from a dispute between Stidham and the woman who was killed, 20-year-old Caitlin Cornett.

Allen identified the male victim as Cornett's uncle, Jackie Cornett, 53. He said the wounded girl was Jackie Cornett's daughter. She was in critical condition at noon Wednesday at Kentucky Children's Hospital, said Julie Phillips, a hospital spokeswoman.

Allen said Caitlin Cornett, who was a student at the college, and Stidham had a child together and had met to exchange custody of him. Allen said police are still investigating what led to the shooting.

Caitlin Cornett's sister, Brittany Cornett, told The Lexington Herald-Leader that Stidham and Caitlin Cornett had separated in October after a three-year relationship. Their son is 2 years old.

The boy was not injured in the shooting and was in the custody of social services workers, Brittany Cornett said.

College President Stephen Greiner said that at the time of the shooting, about 30 students were probably on campus. He said college staff responded quickly to the shooting, securing campus buildings to limit the impact.

"Our thoughts and sympathy are with the families of the victims of this tragedy," he said.

Police recovered the weapon, a semiautomatic pistol, at the scene, Allen said.

Jackie and Caitlin Cornett were already deceased when police arrived about 6 p.m., Allen said.

Conor Duff, the college's evening coordinator, said the outbreak of violence was startling.

"Everybody here's been pretty shook up," he said. "This is definitely something people around here are not used to. We have our fair share of problems, but normally this isn't one of them."

Authorities said two people were shot and killed and a teen wounded in the parking lot of an eastern Kentucky community college.

A police dispatcher said the shooting happened Tuesday afternoon at Hazard Community & Technical college in Hazard, KY. Police say the shootings were likely a domestic dispute that "just wound up in the parking lot of the community college."

Twenty-year old Caitlin Cornett and 53 year old Jackie Cornett died in the shooting. The victim who was injured is identified only as a 17 year old girl who was found in the vehicle's back seat.

Police say the shooter is 21 year old Dalton Stidham. Officers say Stidham used a semi-automatic pistol in the shooting. Police have charged Stidham with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Hazard Police Chief Minor Allen says the first calls about the shooting came in just before 6:00 Tuesday night. Allen said when police arrived they found a vehicle in the middle of the Community College parking lot.  One victim was found dead in the driver's seat of the car, the other was found lying outside the car.

The dispatcher said the injured teen was being taken to the University of Kentucky hospital.

Conor Duff, the college's evening coordinator, said the shootings happened at about 4:30 p.m. at the campus 90 miles southeast of Lexington. Mr. Duff said police then went through the school's two buildings to ensure no one else was at risk. He said the school was put on lockdown, but that it has since been lifted.