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Hardin Co. agencies, community rally around John Hardin High School

Kentucky State Police Trooper Jeff Gregory. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Kentucky State Police Trooper Jeff Gregory. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Mar. 29, 2018 at 7:27 PM EDT
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Jesse Kilgus told police he was going to pick up his child from school, so officers locked down...
Jesse Kilgus told police he was going to pick up his child from school, so officers locked down John Hardin High School. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (WAVE) -  In Hardin County, several police agencies and community members played a role in apprehending a man suspected of killing his wife. A murder investigation in Elizabethtown expanded to an officer-involved shooting at John Hardin High School.

"Nobody wants to do what happened yesterday from a police standpoint," Kentucky State Police Post 4 Trooper Jeff Gregory said.

Gregory said there were seven officers from three agencies involved in the shooting that killed Jesse Kilgus.

KSP, the Hardin County Sheriff's Department, and Radcliff Police were all on the scene. Kilgus was found parked behind John Hardin High School. Police say he raised his gun and they opened fire.

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Two Radcliff police officers were wearing body cameras during the incident. The video will be used in while KSP's Critical Incident Response Team investigates.

Gregory was one of the first officers to hear a 911 caller report that Kilgus claimed he shot his wife, Ruth Marie Kilgus, and was heading to John Hardin High School for his son on Wednesday afternoon.

"We don't know what his intentions were, and we are not sure if he was armed when he walked up there or not," Gregory said.

According to police, Kilgus was stopped by a Radcliff police officer working as a school resource officer (SRO) before entering John Hardin High School. Gregory said the SRO was following lock down procedures and had no idea who Kilgus was.

"Without the 911 we would have never known," Gregory said. "They were as instrumental as anybody in the whole deal."

Gregory worked with John Wright and Hardin County Schools to place the three schools on lock down.

"Everything just fell into place," Gregory said.

Both law enforcement and the school district recognized that while all the students were safe, there was one student who needed extra support: Kilgus' son.

"The students are very resilient, and they have bounced back tremendously," Wright said.

Wright shared pictures of encouraging cards written by students at John Hardin for the young man whose parents were both killed.

"There is a possibility that it could have been much worse," Gregory said.

Gregory said he was proud of the support from the 911 caller, dispatch employees, the SRO officer and law enforcement.

"These are the stop gaps that we want to put into place, and this is how we want them to work," Gregory said.

The Hardin County Sherriff's Department is investigating the murder of Ruth Marie Kilgus. KSP will be handling the officer-involved shooting.

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