Marshall County Attorney Jeff Edwards said it appeared the lone shooter was a male student at the school.

“To walk in, the backpacks laying around. The phones laying around, going off … it’s indescribable,” Edwards said. “I’ve been doing this for 25 years. It’s not like anything I’ve experienced in my life.”

State Police, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives wre on the scene.

Students were bused from the high school to a nearby middle school. Benton is a town of less than 5,000 people in western Kentucky, about 120 miles northwest of Nashville, Tenn. At least three of the shooting victims were taken to the hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. 

Marshall County High School is about 35 miles southeast of Heath High School in West Paducah, where on Dec. 1, 1997, Michael Carneal opened fire on a group of praying students. Carneal, 14, killed three people and wounded five others. 

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., represents Benton and tweeted condolences to the Marshall community. “My thoughts & prayers go out to the students & faculty at Marshall County High School where there has been a tragic school shooting,” Comer said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the floor of the Senate that “our hearts are with the entire community of Marshall County.” He and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said they were monitoring reports from the scene and thanked first responders for their efforts.

National PTA President Jim Accomando also expressed condolences, issuing a statement saying families, educators, school administrators, community leaders and elected officials must work together to prevent gun violence in schools and ensure all students can learn in a safe environment.

“Any act of violence at a school or involving children and youth is intolerable,” Accomando said. “And no parent should fear for the safety of their child every time they leave home.”

Contributing: Thomas Novelly and Darcy Costello, (Louisville, Ky.) Courier Journal; Natalie Neysa Alund, The (Nashville) Tennessean

This article was originally published in USA Today.  

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