school shootings

Students Push As Lawmakers Ponder Gun Safety Bills

Mar 17, 2018
Nicole Erwin

In a recently released court video, Capt. Matt Hilbrecht of the Marshall County, Kentucky, Sheriff’s office testifies about his interrogation of Gabriel Parker, the 15-year-old accused of a mass shooting at Marshall County High School in January.

“We asked him initially when he had the thought of the school shooting,” Hilbrecht begins as he describes the events leading up to the shooting. The recording was released because Parker is being tried as an adult.

Hilbrecht explains how Parker got the 9mm pistol he would use to kill two teens and injure 17 others: Parker found it in his parents’ closet.

Ryland Barton

Students from across Kentucky traveled to the state Capitol to rally against gun violence as part of demonstrations that took place across the country on Wednesday.

More than 40 students from Marshall County High School made the three-and-a-half hour trip to Frankfort.

Marshall County Junior Leighton Solomon was one of several students to speak at the rally. She called on lawmakers to put politics aside and come up with solutions to school violence.

Nicole Erwin

In the wake of the January shooting at Marshall County High School, Kentucky lawmakers have advanced a bill that would require schools to employ mental health professionals to recognize symptoms of trauma in students.

Rep. Will Coursey, a Democrat from Symsonia whose district includes the high school, said the bill was “born out of tragedy.”

“But we firmly believe that if implemented, this piece of legislation would certainly spare us tragedy in the future,” Coursey said.

Flickr/Creative Commons/James Case

A school safety expert told state lawmakers Thursday there’s “no way” arming teachers would make schools safer in the wake of the mass shooting at Marshall County High School.

The Kentucky House and Senate Education committees held a special meeting on Thursday to discuss school safety issues, though no specific pieces of legislation were up for a vote.

President Trump, Gov. Matt Bevin and some Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly have called for allowing teachers to have access to guns on campus in order to defend students against school shooters.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin says current gun and murder laws didn’t discourage recent school shootings, so people shouldn’t look to gun restrictions to prevent future mass shootings.

“What other law would a child who’s willing to break those three laws have obeyed that would have precluded something like this from happening,” Bevin said during an interview with Steve Inskeep on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

Nicole Erwin

In the wake of school shootings in Kentucky and Florida, a rash of copycat school threats throughout the Ohio Valley left law enforcement and school officials grappling with how to improve security. A school counseling expert says it’s useful to look at the potential school shootings that did not happen. His research focuses on how schools have successfully averted shooting incidents.

Culture of Dignity

Dr. Jeff Daniels, Chair of West Virginia University’s counseling department, interviewed school personnel and law enforcement officers who were able to prevent imminent school shootings.

Flickr/Creative Commons/James Case

This week in Frankfort, the debate over gun control flared up again after a mass shooting at a school in Florida. Lawmakers have proposed a handful of bills to deal with guns this legislative session, but most of them expand where guns can be carried. Listen to this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled in the player below.

Nicole Erwin

In this week’s episode of Kentucky Politics Distilled, a school shooting at Marshall County High School sparks debate in Frankfort over whether and how state government can try to prevent gun violence.

On Tuesday morning, a student opened fire on his classmates, killing two teenagers and injuring more than a dozen others. The incident has drawn sympathy from across the country and around the world.

And on the lighter side, what do purple cows have to do with the fractured politics of the Kentucky House of Representatives? Listen to this week’s wrap up with capitol reporter Ryland Barton.

Nicole Erwin

A survivor of the 1997 Heath High School shooting in Paducah said she never thought another shooting would happen in the same community.

Paducah is about 20 miles from the Marshall County High School shooting on Tuesday.

More than 20 years ago, Missy Jenkins Smith spent a week in the ICU after a shooter opened fire on his fellow classmates, killing three students. Smith is now a counselor for the Calloway County Alternative Instructional Facility.

Nicole Erwin, WKMS

A criminologist in Kentucky says it’s hard to know if the suspected teen shooter at Marshall County High School fits the profile of a typical mass murderer. 

The identity of the 15-year-old gunman still hasn’t been released two days after he allegedly killed two students and injured 18 others.  Dr. Daniel Phillips teaches sociology and criminal justice at Campbellsville University. 

"Being young like 15 to 25, being male, that's the profile of a lot of people who do violence throughout our country," Phillips told WKU Public Radio.  'Do I think there's a way you could go into a school and pick out a person who might do this? Probably not.'"

In Wake Of School Shooting, A Look At How Kids Get Guns

Jan 25, 2018
Nicole Erwin

Heather Adams sat in a line of cars along Kentucky Route 95, cars filled with parents who had just received the call no parent wants to get: A shooting at her child’s school, Marshall County High in Benton, Kentucky. Two 15-year-old students were killed and another 18 injured. 

Adams was waiting anxiously to pick up her children, a 15-year-old and a ten-year-old. Both were safe and so she could relax enough to talk a bit. Earlier, she was at the high school with other frantic parents looking for answers about their children.

Kentucky Man Indicted on Triple Murder on College Campus

Feb 18, 2013

A Perry County man who police say shot and killed three people in a domestic dispute at a Kentucky college has been indicted on three murder charges.

WYMT-TV in Hazard  reported that the indictment was handed down against Dalton Stidham, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Police said Stidham killed his former girlfriend and two of her family members in the parking lot of Hazard Community and Technical College on Jan. 15.

The chairman of the Kentucky House Education Committee said arming teachers should be considered a last resort as a way of making schools safer.

The Courier-Journal reports Midway Democrat Carl Rollins made the remarks during a meeting of a new state subcommittee on school safety.

In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings--which took the lives of 20 students and six adults--the head of the National Rifle Association and some gun rights supporting politicians said the answer to gun violence in schools was to have armed security guards at every school in the country.

Others have suggested that arming teachers and administrators would be a deterrent to school shooters.

Rollins said allowing school personnel to carry weapons would likely just open the door to increased accidents on school campuses.

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.

Kentucky News Network

The man who shot and killed three classmates at a Paducah High School in 1997 has lost a bid to withdraw his guilty plea. The US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cinncinati ruled Thursday that 29-year-old Michael Carneal could have acted sooner to seek a new trial.  The unanimous opinion upholds a 2011 ruling by a federal judge who denied Carneal’s request.

Carneal shot into a prayer circle at Heath High School in Paducah, killing three classmates and wounding five others. 

Attorneys for Carneal, who was 14 at the time of the shooting, argued he was mentally unfit to accept responsibility for the crime. Carneal pled guilty in 1998 and did not ask to withdraw the plea until 2009. 

The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office argued the appeal was not timely and therefore his conviction and life sentence should stand.