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The scene of shooting in Marshall County High School is seen in Benton, Kentucky, U.S, January 23, 2018. CBS /via REUTERS.

2 dead, 17 wounded after shooting at Kentucky high school

Two high school students were killed this morning in a shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky.

It was the first fatal school shooting of 2018, the Associated Press reported.

A 15-year-old female student died at the school in Western Kentucky, and a 15-year-old male student died after being transported to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center trauma unit, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said at a news conference Tuesday. According to Oscar Guillamondegui, Medical Director of Trauma at Vanderbilt, the male student died of an “non-survivable gunshot wound” to the head.

Twelve other individuals were shot, four of whom were also flown to the trauma center. Hospital authorities said in a news conference Tuesday that those individuals, all males under 18, are expected to survive. An additional five people were injured with non-gunshot wounds, Bevin said. Authorities are not yet releasing the names of anyone involved, citing an ongoing investigation, but added they believe everyone involved was a student.

Officials said that the shooter, a 15-year-old male student, was taken into custody nonviolently by the sheriff’s department at the scene, and will be charged with both murder and attempted murder. They are “looking into his home” life and other details about him, Kentucky State Police Lt. Michael Webb said.

Kentucky officials repeated numerous times Tuesday that they were intentionally releasing few details, so as to not “jeopardize the integrity of the investigation,” Webb said.

According to Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders, the student walked into the high school Tuesday morning at 7:56 a.m. local time with a handgun and began firing. Two minutes later, authorities received the first emergency call, and at 8:06 a.m. first responders arrived.

“It was one right after another — bang bang bang bang bang,” one student told the Associated Press. “You could see his arm jerking as he was pulling the trigger.”

Sanders said that the investigation is being conducted by the Kentucky State Police Critical State Response Team and the FBI, with assistance from the ATF. He asked anyone who may have information speak to the police.

“We in law enforcement will do our job and do it well, and we will pray for the families that are affected by this today,” Sanders said. “And I make a promise to them that we will do this in the best manner possible.”

Gov. Bevin became visibly emotional when discussing the incident and praised the first responders who he said acted with “timeliness, effectiveness, and professionalism.”

“This is a wound that is going to take a long time to heal,” Bevin said, “and for some in this community, will never fully heal.”

PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.

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