Marshall Co. woman reacts to Texas school shooting

Marshall County Kentucky reacts to the news in Texas and remembers how they experienced a similar tragedy a few years back.
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 5:35 PM CDT
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BENTON, Ky. (KFVS) - Many parents fear the unimaginable; a shooter entering their children’s schools.

It’s something one Heartland county is all too familiar with.

The mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas brings up horrific memories for folks in Marshall County, Kentucky.

”It’s heartbreaking. I would say I can’t imagine what those people are going through but I can because we have been there,” Tammy Blackwell said.

Tammy Blackwell with the Marshall County Public Library thinks back to January 23, 2018, when shots rang out at Marshall County High School, killing two students.

“It’s so much grief and it’s so much hurt and I hate that another community is learning that,” Blackwell said.

More than four years later, Blackwell said the community is still grieving.

A mother of one of the victims of the 2018 Marshall Co. shooting, Bailey Holt, released the following statement:

“This tragedy hits all too close to home for our family. Many others like us affected by school shootings are reliving those horrible days with this latest tragedy in Texas. Our deepest sympathies go out to their community and every family that has been affected, for we know all too well the excruciating and unimaginable road that lies ahead for each of them.

“I lift them all up in prayer and it is my hope that they find the comfort they so desperately need. In uncertain times like these, it is only my faith in the Lord that sees me through. Hopefully, this community finds the answers they deserve and peace during this horrific time. There is no justification for tragedies such as these.

“No answer or ruling will ever change what has happened. Our educators, students, school staff, administrators and families deserve protection from those who wish to commit these vile acts of violence on the most innocent and defenseless members of our society.”

Heartland News spoke to a handful of folks in Benton who couldn’t talk about that horrific day on camera.

“Anytime a new incident like this comes up, it’s really hard for some of them. It brings up a lot of really bad memories,” she said.

She said having support from all over the country helps.

A collection of Marshall County items are archived at the library, stored in several boxes.

“These are cards and pieces of condolences that were sent to the high school from various areas, these were sent from Aztec High School in Arizona, which also experienced a school shooting,” she said.

She hopes to see change so nobody else has to experience these tragedies.

“I don’t know what the answer is, but I hope there is somebody working on that answer and that we get there sooner rather than later,” she said.

In addition to the collectible items, the library is also working on a digital archive with photos to remember the impact that day had on so many.

Gabe Parker pleaded guilty to the 2018 Marshall County shooting and was sentenced to life in prison.

He will have the possibility of parole after serving a minimum of 20 years in prison.

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