School shooting victims mourned at funerals

Published 4:09 pm Monday, January 29, 2018

BENTON, Ky. (AP) — Friends and relatives of the two 15-year-old students gunned down at a western Kentucky high school have mourned their deaths at separate funeral services.

Student Bailey Nicole Holt died Tuesday at Marshall County High School in Benton, a small rural community. The other student, Preston Ryan Cope, was airlifted to a Nashville, Tennessee, hospital where he was pronounced dead. Holt’s funeral was held Sunday at an area church, Twin Lakes Worship Center, and Cope’s funeral at the high school’s gymnasium.

The teens were in kindergarten together and grew up side by side in their tight-knit community.

Email newsletter signup

At a news conference Saturday, Holt’s aunt, Tracy Tubbs, described her as an “old soul” who was simple, easy to love and “the salt of the Earth.”

Tubbs said her niece was a “sweatshirt kind of girl” who often wore jeans and Converse shoes, listened to classic rock bands like AC/DC and Van Halen and was a big fan of the Louisville Cardinals college athletic teams.

Jackie Reid, principal of Sharpe Elementary School in Benton who spoke for Cope’s family at the news conference, said he was on the school baseball team and was a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. She described him as “caring, compassionate, had a gentle spirit and the biggest heart.” He also loved the outdoors, spending time with his family and learning about history, Reid said.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin had declared Sunday as a statewide day of prayer for the grief-stricken region.

A 15-year-old boy is being held on murder and assault charges in the shooting. Police said 14 students were wounded by gunfire and seven others suffered other injuries when the boy opened fire before classes began.

Marshall County High School reopened its doors Friday.