The night before his 15-year-old child was shot and killed in the Kentucky high school shooting, Brian Cope had laid out his son Preston’s socks — for what tragically became the final time.
When he and wife Teresa heard about the shooting at Marshall County High School, they immediately raced to the scene, speeding and running red lights to arrive at a sea of first responders and fellow worried parents.
It was then that Brian spotted those same Nike socks in an ambulance and realized that Preston was in grave danger.
The distressed parents had made it in time to see the teenager laying on a stretcher with his head wrapped in bandages and to tell Preston their final farewells.
“There are so many obstacles that could have prevented me from getting there. I could’ve been in a wreck, I could’ve had a flat tire, anything,” Brian told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Thursday. “But I’m firm in my faith that God guided us safely through all of that to get us there, so we could speak to our baby and just let him know we loved him. … He was such a good son. I told him that.”
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Preston died during the flight en route to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville from gunshot wounds to the head and hand that he sustained in the attack.
Classmate Bailey Nicole Holt, 15, died at the scene of the shooting.
Seventeen other students were injured, 15 of them with gunshots wounds.
“It was just senseless. To take a life, to take these two lives. These family’s loved and had so much. And to take that away from us is so hard. It shouldn’t have happened,” said Brian, who is also the father of 11-year-old son Maddox.
“He loved life. He loved the outside. Our boys have video games and PlayStations and a playroom. He’d rather be outside playing,” he recalled.
Adding, “He’d rather be in the woods. Rather be digging and playing baseball and shooting some basketball. Just loved being outside and being active. That’s all you can ask for as a dad.”
The suspect is a 15-year-old male student who allegedly entered the school just before 8 a.m. with a handgun and began firing, authorities said at a press conference.
He has been formally charged with two counts of murder and 12 counts of first-degree assault, Marshall County Assistant Attorney Jason Darnall told reporters. The Assistant Attorney plans to try the teen as an adult.