Kentucky church member escapes school shooting — but not the trauma

‘We know that God is our only hope in finding any comfort or peace in a time like now,’ says Pamela Ross, a Benton Church of Christ member.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

Are you OK?” 

“Tell me you’re safe.” 

“Pamela, please text me back.”

At 7:57 a.m. Tuesday, a gunman opened fire at Marshall County High School in Benton, Ky., a rural community about 130 miles northwest of Nashville, Tenn.

By the time the rampage ended, two students were dead, and 13 were riddled with bullets, Kentucky State Police said. Five other victims — all teens — were hurt as students ran for their lives.

As news of the nation’s latest mass shooting spread, text messages flooded 18-year-old Pamela Ross’ phone.

But for half an hour, the messages to Ross, a senior at Marshall County High and a lifelong member of the Benton Church of Christ, went unanswered.

The texts became more and more frantic.

“I had an MRI at 8, or I would have been there,” said Ross, who faces possible neck surgery as the result of a 2016 car wreck. “I had no clue about anything until I got out and got dressed.

“My mom (Susan) looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, ‘There’s been a shooting.’ I said, ‘What?’ I couldn’t process it. … Then she handed me my phone, and I opened it, and I had like 500 messages and missed calls.”

The reality of what had happened sank in, and Ross (no relation to this writer) broke down. “And it hasn’t been the same since,” she told The Christian Chronicle. “It won’t be the same for a very, very long time.”

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This story appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.