BENTON, Ky. - Students flooded into the garage of Defew's Body Shop, which sits across the road from Marshall County High, desperate to escape the gunfire.
Those terrifying moments may forever scar the community, but Jim Defew, owner of Defew's Body Shop, said it will eventually heal.
“We’re a strong community and we’ll band together to get through this,” said Defew. “God will take care of us.”
Defew’s business sits on Highway 68 directly across from the school. Students poured into his parking lot, searching for any place that could serve as a shelter from gunfire.
“One girl in particular practically collapsed into our floor,” said Jacey Jones, who was at the shop’s front counter as the shooting unfolded. “She was just beside herself because she was in the commons when it happened.”
The Defews parking lot became a hub for panicked parents searching for their children, unsure of what they’d find.
“To see the parents faces, not knowing whether their kids were injured or killed, it was just unbelievable,” Defew said. “I hope I never have to experience that again.”
On Tuesday, Defew kept his shop open until midnight, and through Wednesday he offered hot food to first responders, friends, and reporters.
He said gestures like that will help rebuild the community, but they will need widespread support to heal.
“Pray for us,” he said. “This is a hard time.”
On Wednesday, prosecutors announced they planned to charge the alleged gunman as an adult with two counts of murder and 12 counts of first degree assault.
Officials did not release his name or motive.
The case will go before a Grand Jury on February 13, which will decide how the teen is charged.
Marshall County Schools Superintendent Trent Lovett announced elementary and middle schools will reopen Friday. Parents have the option to attend classes with their children.
Marshall County High School will remain closed Friday, it is unclear when classes will resume.