BENTON, KY (WAVE) - Exactly one year ago, a gunman opened fire at Marshall County High School.
Two students were killed and 21 others were hurt. The community is still healing, trying to remain “Marshall Strong.”
Despite rain and cold weather, a huge crowd gathered for a vigil Wednesday night on the school grounds to remember the lives lost and reflect on how far the community has come.
What makes this vigil so hard is also why it needed to happen, in the minds of the Marshall County Community.
“People are still processing,” Pastor Alan Miller said. “People are still healing. The community is still healing. Families are still healing. We’re not over this yet.”
Miller, the Lead Pastor at First Missionary Baptist Church, was the emcee for the night.
“The support hasn’t changed at all -- it just continues to grow,” Marshall County High School senior Kat Howard said.
“Marshall Strong means we’re one unit,” junior Devon Evans said. “We’re all ready to go. We all have that great bond after it happened. Everyone got together in the community.”
Three students, who all saw their lives flash before their eyes, reflected on how that fateful day changed everything.
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“The sounds on that day, you had to be in the building to understand what happened,” Evans said.
Students watched as the gunman opened fire in the school’s common area, killing 15-year-old Bailey Holt and Preston Cope, wounding so many others, and changing the school forever.
“It’s something we’re going to live with forever," Howard said. "We will never be completely over it, but each day gets better.”
“We’ll never forget it. It will always connect us,” senior Alec Jones said.
The school has since added metal detectors, school resource officers, and banned all backpacks.
The suspect, now 16-year-old Gabriel Parker, is still awaiting trial.
Families of four students shot at the school are suing the school district for failing to keep the students safe.