Man charged in shooting that kills 2, injures 1 at Hazard Community and Technical College

kward1@herald-leader.combestep@herald-leader.comJanuary 15, 2013 

HAZARD — Two people were killed and one teen was critically injured in a parking lot shooting at Hazard Community and Technical College just before 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Hazard Police Chief Minor Allen said the shooting “could be related to a domestic-type situation” that was “not related to the school in any way.”

Those who died were Caitlin Cornett, 20, of Knott County, and her uncle Jackie Cornett, 53, of the Perry County community of Happy, said Hazard Assistant Chief Joe Engle.

A teen girl who was not identified by police was critically injured in the shooting and was taken to the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. Engle said he believed the injured girl and the deceased victims were related.

Hazard police charged Dalton Stidham, 21, with two counts of murder, one related to domestic violence. He is also charged with one count of attempted murder. Stidham had turned himself in to Kentucky State Police after the shooting.

Engle said preliminary information indicated that Caitlin Cornett and Stidham had a child in common and had met in the parking lot of the college’s First Federal Center Building to exchange the child for visitation. The child was not injured and was in the custody of social services workers Tuesday night, Engle said.

Allen said officers would likely be working at the scene until after midnight. He said they would probably get warrants to search several vehicles and a residence.

“We’re going to slowly and methodically work this,” he said.

Allen said police recovered a semi-automatic pistol that was believed to have been used in the shooting.

He said shots were fired into the victims’ vehicle; one of those who died was found inside and the other was lying in the parking lot.

Wednesday classes at the Hazard campus have been canceled, said President Stephen Greiner.

He said the school went into lockdown after the shooting. By just after 7 p.m., Greiner said he had gone with police to release students and faculty in one of two buildings on campus where classes were being held Tuesday night.

He said police were interviewing those inside as well.

“There were no witnesses in the buildings,” Greiner said. “Of course, it’s a tragedy and they still can’t believe it would happen on our campus.”

Two classes with a total of 28 students enrolled were scheduled to be held in the First Federal Center Building Tuesday evening, according to the college’s online schedule.

Classes resumed for the spring semester on Monday. Greiner said the school has 2,700 to 2,800 students enrolled.

Herald-Leader staff writers Josh Kegley and Taylor Pettit contributed to this report. Karla Ward: (859) 231-3314.Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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