Bailey Nicole Holt, 15, was one of two teenagers killed in Tuesday’s shooting at Marshall County High School, authorities said this week. Another 15-year-old, Preston Ryan Cope, died after a student opened fire at the school, an incident that left several wounded.
“Whatever that kid had going through his mind, I don’t know,” Secret Holt said of the suspected shooter. “But if he needed a friend, I know [Bailey Holt] would have been a friend to him, and talked to him about anything that he needed. That’s just the kind of person she was.”
The gunfire at Marshall County High School began shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday, authorities have said. Holt was pronounced dead at the scene. Cope was airlifted to a hospital, but later died.
The suspect, a 15-year-old male student armed with a handgun, was taken into custody after the shooting.
“It’s just so hard to believe, that somebody, in a split-second, could take two lives and injure so many in just a short amount of time,” Secret Holt said in the WKRN interview. “Can’t get it back. Can’t get it back. I don’t know if I can go to court to see him, I just don’t know if I can. But I want him to pay for everything he’s done, but also I want to pray for him too, because I know he’s probably having a hard time, too. But —”
“He still took our baby,” Bailey’s father, Jasen, said.
“He still took my baby from me,” Secret Holt said.
“We deeply appreciate the outpouring of support that we have received from colleagues and communities across the state and the nation,” Lovett said in the statement. “Our children are our future, our greatest gift, and our foremost priority. Hold your children close tonight as you gather together at vigils, churches, and homes and please bear with us as we struggle to return to some sense of normalcy.”
Secret Holt remembered her daughter’s bright smile, and her personality that was “bigger than life.” Although she was just a teenager, Bailey was already set on becoming a labor and delivery nurse, her mother told the station.
“She always put others before herself,” Secret Holt said. “She was just so kindhearted, and just the most amazing kid anyone could ask for.”
Secret Holt told NBC News she already missed “everything” about her daughter.
“She was so beautiful and smart and perfect,” she said. “And just such a loving, big-hearted person.”
The Washington Post’s attempts to reach Secret Holt were unsuccessful Thursday.
Students told the Associated Press the suspected shooter opened fire Tuesday morning in the school’s atrium, a spot where students hang out. One student told AP that bullets were “flying everywhere.”
In the interview with WKRN, Secret Holt said she would pray for the suspect’s family, because she knew “they’re going through a lot right now, too.”
“But also, he took our baby from us,” she said. “She made me a momma for the first time. I’ll never be able to get that back. And he took that from me.”