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Kentucky girl 3rd victim of shooting in school parking lot

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:48 p.m.

HAZARD, Ky. — A 12-year-old girl who was shot in a parking lot at Hazard Community and Technical College died on Wednesday, a day after her father and cousin were killed in the same shooting.

Taylor Cornett, a sixth-grader at R.W. Combs Elementary School in Perry County, died at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, according to hospital spokeswoman Kristi Lopez.

Also killed were Caitlin Cornett, 20, who was living in Letcher County, and her uncle, Jackie “Doug” Cornett, 53, of the Perry County community of Happy, Hazard Assistant Police Chief Joe Engle said.

Hazard police charged Dalton Stidham, 21, Caitlin Cornett's former boyfriend, with two counts of murder, one related to domestic violence, and one count of attempted murder. Stidham turned himself in to Kentucky State Police after the shooting.

A police citation said Stidham admitted that he had shot three people.

Stidham told police “I snapped; shot three people, I'm sure,” according to the citation completed by Detective Lt. Paul Campbell, who is leading the investigation.

A handgun was found at the scene and matched the description of a gun Stidham said he bought earlier Tuesday, according to the citation.

Kenny Woods, a Baptist minister who owns H & K Gun & Pawn Shop in Perry County, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that Stidham bought the gun legally at his shop about 1 p.m. Tuesday.

“He cleared a background check without even a delay,” Woods said. “Everything was fine with him.”

Woods said he would not have sold the gun had Stidham been acting strangely.

Caitlin Cornett had broken up with Stidham a few months before the shooting, said Brittany Cornett, Caitlin's sister. She said Caitlin “was a loving mother, a loving sister and daughter, and everything you could possibly want in somebody.”

Jackie Cornett was a former coal miner who was disabled from a mining injury, Brittany Cornett said. He “was kind and caring and loved his family,” she said.

Stidham and Caitlin Cornett had chosen the parking lot of the college's First Federal Center building to exchange their 2-year-old son, Jaydein, for visitation, Brittany Cornett said.

Police said Tuesday that the boy was not injured and was in the custody of social services workers. Brittany Cornett said relatives were meeting with social workers Wednesday to discuss Jaydein.

Brittany Cornett said Jackie Cornett and his daughter Taylor had taken Caitlin to the parking lot to meet Stidham.

They were to meet at 8 p.m. Tuesday, but Stidham called and asked that the exchange be made earlier, Brittany Cornett said.

The shooting occurred just before 6 p.m., police said.

Hazard Police Chief Minor Allen said Tuesday that shots were fired into the victims' vehicle; one person was found dead inside and the other was lying in the parking lot. He said the shooting could be “a domestic type situation” unrelated to the school.

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