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At Least 2 Dead, 12 Injured After Shooting At Kentucky High School

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Two are dead. Seventeen others are injured in a school shooting in western Kentucky today. The shooting occurred this morning at Marshall County High School, which is a couple of hours away from Nashville. Afterwards, while standing next to her parents, witness Alyssa Hubbard described what had happened. She was in the library.

ALYSSA HUBBARD: And we could hear all the teachers screaming. I think someone got shot in the chest. And they kept yelling put some pressure on it. And after they got everyone out and they got the kid who was shooting, one of the principals came into the library and yelled his name and took us to the tech center.

KELLY: We're joined now by reporter Matt Markgraf. He is of member station WKMS in Murray, Ky. Hey, Matt.

MATT MARKGRAF, BYLINE: Hi.

KELLY: Can you give us some detail on where exactly this was and what happened?

MARKGRAF: Well, Marshall County High School is in rural west Kentucky. And it's a school of about 1,400 students. Authorities say just before 8 o'clock this morning, a 15-year-old male student armed with a handgun entered the school and started shooting in a part of the building called the commons. Students were just arriving for the day at the time of the shooting. One of the students that we talked to wasn't even there yet because of the school start time. And after the shooting began, the school called 911. And first responders arrived a few minutes later.

Witnesses say they heard popping sounds outside of the library - sounded like banging on metal. It was a chaotic scene. Some say students reportedly tried to fight the shooter. Others say the shooter dropped the gun and ran. Some of the more severely injured were flown to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. The medical director there says five male teenagers arrived at the center. Three had gunshot wounds to the head. Not everyone injured was shot. Some were less severely injured in the mayhem.

KELLY: Now, you gave us a few important details there about the shooter. You said he's believed to be this 15-year-old male, that he's a student at this high school. And I gather he's alive.

MARKGRAF: That's right. The shooter is alive. He was apprehended nonviolently by a local deputy. Authorities are not revealing the alleged shooter's name. They're saying it's a male student and that he is 15 years old. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and other officials say he'll be charged with murder and attempted murder.

KELLY: We just heard there from one witness, a student who was in the library as this unfolded. You've been talking to others at the school. What are you hearing?

MARKGRAF: After the shooting, students were taken to a nearby middle school to be picked up by parents. Many parents waited several hours on backed-up rural roads to pick up their children. Some had abandoned their vehicles and walked. Students and parents are shocked and grieving. One mother said that she felt complete terror when she learned of the shooting. She said it's one of the saddest days she's ever seen in her hometown. Another mother said she consoled the mother of the shooter and said that that woman had been in a state of shock. And a grandmother picking up her grandchild says that she's in her 60s and has never been so scared in her life.

KELLY: No, I imagine not - just awful. What do we know about what investigators are doing at this point?

MARKGRAF: The Kentucky State Police Critical Incident Response Team, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - they're all processing the scene. They say there's still a lot of work to be done and many to be interviewed.

KELLY: All right, that's Matt Markgraf of member station WKMS reporting on this awful story, a school shooting that unfolded today in western Kentucky. Matt, thanks so much.

MARKGRAF: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.