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Police: Gun used to kill 3 in Ky. bought same day

HAZARD, Ky. (AP) - A gunman enraged by a domestic dispute bought a gun and fatally shot his former girlfriend, her uncle and her cousin in the parking lot of a small southeastern Kentucky college, police said Wednesday.

The violence near the school Tuesday afternoon locked down the campus for more than an hour as police searched the two buildings of Hazard Community and Technical College in Hazard. The campus was closed Wednesday and will reopen Thursday.

Caitlin Cornett, 20, and her uncle Jackie Cornett, 53, were found dead at the scene when police arrived about 6 p.m. Tuesday, Hazard Police Chief Minor Allen said. Twelve-year-old Taylor Jade Cornett, who police said was shot multiple times, died Wednesday afternoon at University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, said Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn.

Dalton Stidham, 21, was charged Tuesday with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. The officer handling the case was not available Wednesday night to say whether the latter charge would be amended.

Allen said the shooting resulted from a dispute between Caitlin Cornett and Stidham.

A semiautomatic pistol that was found at the scene and believed to have been used in the shooting was purchased the same day at a local pawn shop, Allen said.

Allen said Caitlin Cornett and Stidham had a child together and had met in the parking lot to exchange custody of the 2-year-old boy. The boy was not injured in the shooting and was in the custody of social services workers, Caitlin Cornett's sister Brittany Cornett was quoted by the Lexington Herald-Leader as saying.

Brittany Cornett said her sister had separated from Stidham in October after a three-year relationship.

College President Stephen Greiner said about 30 students were on campus at the time of the shooting. He said college staff responded quickly by securing the school's buildings.

"Our thoughts and sympathy are with the families of the victims of this tragedy," Greiner said.

Caitlin Cornett was a student at the college during the 2010-11 school year and had recently signed up for a February course.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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