Michael Carneal is also known as The Prayer Slayer. In 1997, when he was just 14, he walked into his Heath High School in West Paducah, Kentucky and opened fired on a group of praying kids. He killed three of them and injured five more. He had a .22 long rifle, a 12-gauge pump action shotgun, and a Ruger MK II .22 pistol on him. He wrapped the guns in a blanket and got them into the school claiming they were an art project he was working on. When he got to school, he put earplugs in his ears and pulled the pistol out of his backpack.
One of the survivors testified that Carneal dropped his guns of his own and said “Kill me, please. I can’t believe I did that.” He then surrendered himself to the school principal, Bill Bond. Carneal was given a sentence of life in prison with parole for 25 years. The three girls he killed died while at the hospital with their respective ages of 14, 15, and 17. The wounded that survived were 4 girls and a boy aged 14, two 15 year olds, 16, and 17. Apparently, Carneal had suffered bullying and was suffering from paranoia.
He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, has been hospitalized several times, and is on medication. At the time of the shooting, Carneal had Stephen King’s Rage in his locker. King had the book removed from print, fearing that it would inspire similar tragedies. Christian singer and Heath alumnus, Stephen Curtis Chapman, wrote and dedicated the song, With Hope, on his 1999 album to the victims of the shooting.