Man shot and killed by officers outside John Hardin High School

By Kevin Wheatley, WDRB News

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) — Police shot and killed a man outside John Hardin High School on Wednesday minutes after he allegedly killed his wife at their home.

Jesse Kilgus, 51, was shot in his van after he went to John Hardin to check his child out of school, according to Kentucky State Police spokesman Jeff Gregory.

Gregory said KSP received a call about a possible shooting at Wise Lane and found the body of 46-year-old Ruth Marie Kilgus around 12:40 p.m.

Police learned that Jesse Kilgus planned to pick his child up from school and confronted him there less than 20 minutes later. Kilgus first tried to enter the school, but he was told by a school resource officer that it was under lockdown. Kilgus then returned to his vehicle.

Officer arrived, and after about five minutes of negotiations, KSP said Kilgus raised his handgun in a “threatening manner,” and seven officers from three law enforcement agencies opened fire, killing him.

“Obviously nobody ever wants this situation to happen, and it’s unfortunate that it happened in a school parking lot, but because there’s great cooperation between all three police departments that were involved in Hardin County Schools, we did everything right as far as I’m concerned,” Gregory said.

HCS Superintendent Teresa Morgan said the student involved will receive trauma counseling after losing both parents on Wednesday.

“He is safe at this time and he is a now with extended family,” Morgan said.

Officials put John Hardin, Bluegrass Middle School and New Highland Elementary School on lockdown as the situation unfolded. Parents were allowed to pick up their kids, but students who parked in John Hardin’s rear parking lot must wait until police clear the scene.

Jamyah Babers, a sixth grader at Bluegrass, said she heard about five gunshots coming from the high school parking lot and that her class was locked down for about half an hour.

Her mother, Jennifer Babers, said with recent violence that has erupted in schools, she was anxious to find her daughter safe.

“I’m just worried about the kids and all that has been going on in the last couple months with all the different schools.”

Shortly after the incident, Hardin County Schools released a statement on social media. That statement reads as follows:

“We want to alert you about a situation that took place today. During the early afternoon, we received a request from the Kentucky state police asking us to place John Hardin High School, Bluegrass Middle School and New Highland Elementary School on lockdown.

We have since learned that a situation arose behind John Hardin High School that required law enforcement. Everything that has taken place, took place outside of school. There were never any threats inside the building. No student or staff member was ever in danger. All students and staff were safe, are safe and will be safe.

New Highland and Bluegrass are off of lockdown. KSP is still investigating the situation behind John Hardin. If you’d like to go pick up your child, you may. Please use the front door only. We will call for your student and your student to come to you.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation.”

Hardin County Schools


 Hardin County School said there will be school Thursday at John Hardin. Counselors will be on hand for any student that needs to see someone.

Copyright 2018 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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