Grieving community gathers for vigil after Marshall County High School shooting

BENTON, KY – We are Marshall strong. It’s a phrase you’re probably seeing on social media a lot, but you can actually see the resilience of this community.

We know Benton as part of our home here in western Kentucky, but this week the nation was introduced to Benton, Kentucky.

At a vigil at Mike Miller Park Thursday night, an estimated 1,000 people showed up to see the community — including students, parents, and first responders — come together. These people are more than the tragedy that happened on Jan. 23. They are Marshall strong.

Parker Jennings, a senior at Marshall County High School, spoke to his classmates.  “The last two days have been the hardest days of my life,” he says.

These students have been stripped of their innocence.

Darren Walls, a local veteran, says just like a soldier coming home after war, they eventually will get through this. “These students are leaning on each other, and that’s exactly what they need to do,” he says.

Benton Mayor Rita Dotson tells Local 6 that the past three days have been hard for the community.

The community is trying to understand how this could happen. A mother tells me that one of the shooting victims was in the crowd at the vigil.

“We’re here to show them that it’s OK to cry. It’s okay to grieve,” says Walls. The healing process starts here, by bringing light to a dark time.

“This is a testament to how strong our community is,” Dotson says.

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