‘It’s frustrating it’s still happening:’ Heath High School shooting survivor calls for action

‘It’s frustrating it’s still happening:’ Heath High School shooting survivor calls for action
Published: May. 27, 2022 at 10:38 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The massacre in Texas hits close to home for the victims and survivors of the Heath High School shooting in western Kentucky nearly 25 years ago. It’s one of three high profile school shootings in Kentucky, with the others happening in Marshall and Carter counties.

Missy Jenkins-Smith says while she doesn’t constantly think about Dec. 1, 1997, she does have constant reminders because of her injuries. She was paralyzed when Michael Carneal opened fire and shot her and seven other students. Three of them died.

“It’s frustrating that after 25 years, it’s still happening,” said Jenkins-Smith. It’s a feeling she has every time she hears of another shooting at a school.

“To see that innocent kids that are in the fourth grade are being targeted, is very, very scary.”

At the time of the Heath High School shooting, school shootings were almost unheard of. Jenkins-Smith believes there is a core issue that hasn’t been fully addressed.

“Some of the things that I think would help prevent, or improve the possibility of this not happening anymore, is I think there are so many lost kids out there, or people in general, that feel unloved and that no one is there for them.”

Friday, disturbing new details were released about what happened inside Robb Elementary. We learned officers waited 48 minutes before confronting the shooter in the classroom he was in.

“There’s more than just the police that could have done something differently in this situation,” said Jenkins-Smith.

She says there’s always a need to blame, but what should be the focus is how to be better should this happen somewhere again.

“I think we just need to take what happened and not point fingers because at this point, what is that going to do? We just need to look at the solution, and helping and prevent this from happening anywhere else.”

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