School gunman's identity an open secret in Marshall County, KY - WSMV News 4

School gunman's identity an open secret in Marshall County, KY

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The alleged gunman was taken into custody after the shooting. (WSMV) The alleged gunman was taken into custody after the shooting. (WSMV)

While investigators will not release the identity of the shooter in the deadly massacre at Marshall County High School, witnesses tell News 4 they know who the gunman is because they saw him pull the trigger.

The 15-year-old student faces two counts of murder and twelve counts of assault in the first degree. Prosecutors intend to charge the teen as an adult, according to Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnall.

But the reality is, when the shooting started Tuesday morning, there were students who witnessed it.

In the midst of the nightmare that unfolded at Marshall County High School, Bryson Conkwright saw someone open fire, then ran for his life.

Later, when Conkwright, 18, saw a photo of the suspected shooter, Conkwright identified him immediately.

“When I saw this kid’s face, I just knew it was him,” Conkwright said. “I remember seeing his lifeless, empty eyes just...pulling the trigger. He didn't even flinch.”

Law enforcement’s decision to withhold the shooter’s name follows the hard line drawn by Kentucky law that juvenile offenders cannot be identified.

His name will not be released unless he is charged as an adult. To the nation, he remains unknown for now.

But in a town of just more than 4,000 people still reeling from a mass shooting, witnesses said they saw the gunman and know exactly who he is.

“When there’s this many people that’s seen it and knows this happened, I mean, it’s kind of hard to justify the fact of not saying it’s him,” Conkwright said.

The 15-year-old student, identified as the shooter by witnesses, had social medial accounts that were deactivated not long after the shooting.

The News 4 I-Team obtained those accounts.

Photos show the teen played instruments, traveled to places like Nashville, Florida and Puerto Rico, and enjoyed fireworks.

His most recent Instagram post from July referenced the Marine Corps doctrine, “The Rifleman’s Creed.”

The student’s profile also included a quote from Joseph Stalin: “I trust no one, not even myself.”

Within hours of the shooting, friends and family rushed to defend him on social media.

A girl claiming to be the teen’s stepsister took to Facebook to write: “He isn’t a monster…he is a kid who is hurting.”

While Conkwright is horrified by Tuesday’s events, he said he prefers the gunman’s name be withheld.

“I understand....right now he’s a suspect," Conkwright said. And right now they’re just trying to keep his family, his mom safe.”

A judge will soon decide if the teen should be tried as an adult.

After that, the district attorney’s office will bring the case to the Marshall County Grand Jury on February 13.

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