Covering Kentucky

Dec 14, 2012 10:31 PM

Remembering The Heath High School Shooting

For some Kentuckians the sights and sounds of the Connecticut school shooting are all too familiar. Tragedy struck at two Kentucky schools in the 1990's. We take a look at the fatal Heath High School shooting in Paducah and talk to people who were personally affected by the heinous act.

It was 1997, when then 14-year old Michael Carneal opened fire on a prayer group at Heath High School in Paducah. Carneal killed three classmates and wounded five others. One of those injured, Missy Jenkins-Smith.

"You know when you watch TV you think it happens to other people, and I am definitely living proof that it can happen," explained Jenkins-Smith.

A survivor, but injured, Jenkins-Smith was left paralyzed after being hit in the shoulder, spinal cord and lung. She said she has struggled to recover from the shooting, both physically and mentally, but adds, that forgiving her shooter, Michael Carneal, has helped her heal emotionally. Following the Connecticut shooting, she offered advice for the families and friends mourning.

"What they need to do to get through this is talk to each other, not to stay silent, be there for somebody and if they want to tell you the story over and over again, just listen to them," explained Jenkins-Smith.

One of those hoping to lend an ear, Bill Bond. Bond was principal at Heath High School when the shooting took place.

"I don't know what to say to a second grader, I don't know what to say to anyone at Connecticut after this happened. If I don't go I'm just racked with guilt, but if I do go, I'm miserable, but at least I'm trying," stated Bond.

Bond's statement is all too familiar. How do you explain or talk to your children about people being shot, losing a friend or a teacher, forever? Alan Mullins shared some advice. Mullins was the schools psychologist when Carneal opened fire.

"It has certainly showed me and told me the importance of mental health services and the importance of family unity," said Mullins.

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