LEXINGTON, KY. (WKYT) - News of Tuesday's shooting at a high school in Marshall County brought back painful memories for one Lexington woman.
Brittney Thomas survived a school shooting that happened at Heath High School in Paducah 20 years ago, not far from Benton.
Thomas's cousins attend Marshall County High, and were in the school when police say a 15-year old-student fired shots, killing at least two students and injuring 17 others. Thomas says her relatives are safe and unharmed.
"You just don't think something like that would happen twice in the same location," Thomas said. "Its just right down the street, they are our neighbors, and unfortunately this is a road we have gone down before."
In 1997, Thomas became a school shooting survivor herself during the deadly gunfire at Heath High School, less than a thirty minute drive from where Tuesday's tragedy played out. 3 students died in that shooting, 5 others were injured.
Thomas says that just a few months ago they dedicated a new memorial to the Heath victims. Thomas says she has a message for the students at Marshall County.
"If I were able to sit down with those students, I don't think I would talk much, I would listen mostly," Thomas said. "Just let them know that it is going to get better, it is going to get easier, but it unfortunately gets harder first. But there is a community of survivors right down the road from you who are waiting with their arms open."
These tragedies played out in a small community, leaving many families impacted, some even twice.
"There are people who were students in our school who are now adults and have children that go to that school now. You don't think that you are going to be a survivor and your child is going to be a survivor," Thomas said.
Thomas is part of a group of hundred of survivors working to embrace and help others who have gone through similar situations. For more information about "The Rebels Project" visit www.therebelsproject.org