In the aftermath of 2018's first deadly school shooting, the small town of Benton, Kentucky is thanking an unlikely hero.
Two teenagers were killed after one of their fellow students opened fire at the town's Marshall County High School. Another 14 students were shot, and four more were injured in the rush to escape the school.
The tiny community of less than 5,000 people is in shock as victims as young as 14 years old remain in the hospital. But everyone in Benton is thankful for Tristan Cline.
The junior was just arriving at school on Tuesday morning when the gunman opened fire. Cline described the terrifying scene to CBS:
"I saw everybody rush out in a panic. I mean, it had to have been 400 kids, and I started to flee in my car and that's when I saw my friend Danny."
Cline says his friend had been shot while trying to escape the school, and had collapsed on the lawn outside.
Despite the risk to his life, Cline didn't hesitate to help his friend, and authorities say his quick thinking may have saved his life.
Cline, along with a teacher,and an assistant principal from Marshall County High, managed to load Danny into Cline's car.
"He was shot in the shoulder and he was scared and he didn't – no one really knew what to do, so I just put him in my car and drove as fast as I could."
While Cline was loading his friend in the car, no one had any idea if the shooter was nearby, and the teen admits he worried they would be discovered.
"Terror. Fear. I was scared," he remembered. "I mean I didn't know if the shooter was behind us."
Thankfully, Cline was able to get his friend to the hospital safely. Despite everything he's been through, the high school student says his community is still focusing on the silver lining.
"We're trying to stick to the positives, you know, be together and just be there for the people that need us instead of really thinking about the whole shooter situation," the teen explained.
“God is love and in perfect love, there is no fear. So we'll get over it eventually. It just takes time.”
Police have still not named the shooter, who they identify as a 15-year-old male. A county attorney says he will attempt to try him as an adult for two counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder.
We're thankful for all the heroes who responded to this tragedy!