BENTON, KY (WKRN/KFVS) - The parents of 15-year-old Bailey Holt opened up about their heartbreak and revealed their feelings toward the accused student gunman.
Bailey's mother, Secret, told WKRN in Nashville, Tenn. after learning about the shooting at Marshall County High School on Tuesday morning from a friend, she immediately began calling her daughter's cell phone.
"We tried and tried to call her and she didn't answer," Secret Holt said. "It's not like her to answer or text back."
Eventually, Bailey called her mother back, but the high school sophomore was unable to speak.
"She called me and all I could hear 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.
Bailey's parents said they learned their daughter was killed in the shooting after she did not get off the buses used to transport students to a nearby school.
"We waited and waited for her to get off the buses and she never did. The principal at North Marshal came and got me, and took us outside and we got in a cop car and they took us to the fire department and told us what had happened," Secret said.
The grieving parents told WKRN Bailey was the perfect daughter, and she was always putting others first.
"Even though she was 15, she had already decided her career was going to be a labor and delivery nurse," her mother 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."
"She was perfect in every way," Bailey's father Jasen said. "She was an angel here on earth. She was a perfect angel.
As for their feelings toward the alleged student gunman who took their daughter's life, the family said they are praying for him no matter how difficult that may be.
Her mother said, "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. 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."
Bailey's 15-year-old classmate, Preston Ryan Cope, also died from his injuries in the shooting. Eighteen others were injured.
The accused gunman, a 15-year-old student, remains in custody and has been charged with two counts of murder and 12 counts of attempted first.
"Whatever that kid had going through his mind, I don't know. But if he needed a friend I know she 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.
Bailey's family said they have had an overwhelming amount of community support and take comfort in knowing they are not going through this tragedy alone.
A fund was set up for the family at CFSB Bank–Bailey Holt Memorial Fund, C/O Shanna Wood.