United States

‘Hug Your Kids': Kentucky Shooting Victim's Parents Share Grief Over Death of Daughter Bailey Holt

"Just hug your kids," said Bailey Holt's father, Jason Holt

Two days after their 15-year-old daughter was killed when a gunman opened fire inside Kentucky's Marshall County High School, the parents of Bailey Holt shared their grief in an emotional interview that aired Thursday on the "Today" show.

Jason and Secret Holt remembered their daughter as "the best kid ever," saying she enjoyed music and wanted to be a nurse. The couple urged other parents to hold their children while they still can.

"Just hug your kids," Jason Holt said.

"Just hug them and tell them you love them daily, 'cause you just don't know if it's gonna be the last time you get to do it," Secret Holt added, holding back tears.

Bailey Holt and 15-year-old Preston Cope were killed in the common area of their school, where many students had gathered before class. Eighteen others were injured in the shooting and hundreds were sent fleeing from the school. The 15-year-old accused of emptying his handgun on the crowd faces murder and assault charges as an adult, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Jason Holt remembered the last time he saw Bailey that day; he embraced her as he did every morning and night.

"I took her to school and gave her a kiss and told her I loved her, and she got out of the car," he said.

Secret also mourned seeing her daughter off to school.

"I miss seeing her every morning," Bailey's mother, Secret Holt, said. "I would kiss and tell her I loved her every morning before I left for work."

The high school is still an active crime scene, officials said, and there is no indication when it will reopen. Five of the gunshot victims were transferred to a medical center in Nashville, and they remain in critical but stable condition.

"I just wanna pray for all the other victims too," Secret Holt said.

The shooting was the 16th mass shooting in the U.S. in 2018, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Contact Us