In pictures: Shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky
January 24, 2018 | 12:43 PM
by Reuters
Police investigators are seen at the scene of a shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, US, on January 23, 2018. Photo - Reuters

A 15-year-old boy opened fire with a handgun just before classes started at his high school in rural western Kentucky on Tuesday, killing two fellow students and wounding 13 other youths before he was arrested, the state's governor and police said.

The shooter, who has not been officially identified, entered a common area at Marshall County High School in Benton shortly before 8am (1400 GMT), pulled out a pistol and began firing at students, witnesses told Kentucky media.

The suspect will be charged with two counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder, the Kentucky State Police said. Police have not released a motive for the shooting but said they believed the gunman acted alone.

The bloodshed at the school of nearly 1,150 students in a small farming town was the latest outbreak of gun violence that has become a regular occurrence at schools and college campuses across the United States over the past several years.

The students killed were Bailey Hope, a 15-year-old girl, and Preston Cope, a 15-year-old boy, state police said. Five of the victims were in critical condition, police said, but hospital officials said they expected all those wounded in the incident to survive.

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