WKRN is reporting on the tragic story of Bailey Holt, who was in Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky on January 23 when a 15 year-old student opened fire on his classmates. Bailey was killed along with her friend, Preston Ryan Cope, who was also 15 years old. Eighteen other students were injured before the gunman ran out of ammunition and was apprehended by police.
As soon as Bailey’s mother, Secret Holt, heard about the shooting, she began calling her daughter’s cell phone.
“We tried and tried to call her and she didn’t answer,” Secret said. “It’s not like her not to answer or text back.”
Sadly, Bailey did eventually call her mother back, but was unable to speak.
“She called me and all I could here was voices, chaos in the background. She couldn’t say anything and I tried to call her name over and over and over and she never responded. We rushed to the high school, and they wouldn’t let us get through,” Secret said.
She stood waiting for her daughter to get off the buses that were used to transport the students to a nearby school. Bailey never got off the bus. Instead, the principal came over and ushered Secret into a police car that took her to the fire department where she was finally told that her daughter was dead.
“Even though she was 15, she had already decided her career was going to be a labor and delivery nurse,” Secret said. “She helped others… she was just so kindhearted and the most amazing kid anybody could ever ask for. Her smile could light up the room.”
Her father, Jasen Holt, said, “She was perfect in every way. She was an angel here on earth. She was a perfect angel.”
In spite of the unspeakable pain they are experiencing over the loss of their daughter, and as difficult as it is to do so, the family says they are praying for the shooter.
“It’s just so hard to believe that somebody in a split second could take two lives and injure so many in just a short amount of time,” Secret said. “I don’t know if I can go to court and see him. I just don’t know if I can, but I want him to pay for everything he’s done. I also want to pray for him, too, because I know he’s probably having a hard time too, but he took our baby. He still took my baby from me.”
Because of Kentucky state laws, the shooter’s identity has not been released because he is a minor. However, Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnall said the 15 year-old student facts two counts of murder and twelve counts of assault in the first degree. Prosecutors intend to try him as an adult.
“Whatever that kid had going through his mind, I don’t know. But if he needed a friend I know she [Bailey] would’ve been a friend to him and talked to him about anything he needed, because that’s just the kind of person she was,” Secret said.
According to WSMV, the suspect is known in the small community and witnesses say the gunman’s social media accounts contained quotes from Joseph Stalin and “The Rifleman’s Creed.” All of his accounts have since been deactivated.
Let us keep the families of all involved in this tragedy in our prayers.
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