Shooting of Kayla Rolland

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The death of Kayla Rolland occurred at Buell Elementary School in Mount Morris Township, Michigan, United States on February 29, 2000. Six-year-old Dedrick Darnell Owens fatally shot classmate Kayla Renee Rolland (May 12, 1993 – February 29, 2000) in a stairwell before he was taken into police custody. Buell Elementary School closed in 2002.[1] It was part of the Beecher Community School District.


The incident began when 6-year-old Dedrick Owens found a Davis Industries P-32 .32-caliber handgun in his uncle's home,[2][3] and brought the firearm, along with a knife, to Buell Elementary School. Further in the day, during a change of classes, Owens fatally shot 6-year-old Kayla Rolland in the presence of a teacher and 22 students while they were moving up a floor on the stairs, saying to her: "I don't like you", before pulling the trigger. The bullets entered her right arm and traveled through a vital artery. At 10:29 a.m. EST, Rolland was pronounced dead at Hurley Medical Center while in cardiac arrest.[4]

Owens then threw the handgun into a trashbasket and fled to a nearby restroom. He was found there, in the corner, by a teacher and was taken into police custody soon after. He was held in custody until the Genesee County Family Independence Agency could determine his placement.[5] He and his two younger siblings have since been placed with an aunt.[6]


At six years of age, Kayla Rolland was believed to be the youngest school shooting victim in U.S. history until the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.[7] Dedrick Owens is the youngest school shooter. Due to Owens' age (born on May 5, 1993) and the legal claim that at that age he would lack the ability to form intent, he was not charged with the murder. In most U.S. states, six-year-olds are not liable for crimes they commit. Genesee County Prosecutor Arthur Busch called on the citizens to collectively hug the boy presumably out of pity and sympathy. In an 1893 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that "children under the age of 7 years could not be guilty of felony, or punished for any capital offense, for within that age the child is conclusively presumed incapable of committing a crime." This is followed in many U.S. states.[8]

Jamelle James, who owned the .32-caliber semiautomatic pistol, eventually pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter and spent two years and five months in prison before he was released on probation. The other adults involved would be in and out of court systems in the years to follow.[1]

Buell Elementary closed in 2002 due to dwindling enrollment and stressed finances. It was heavily damaged by arson in 2005, and was demolished in 2009.[9]

Cultural references[edit]

The incident was documented in the 2002 Michael Moore film Bowling for Columbine.[10]


  1. ^ a b Five years after school shooting, Michigan community still in pain Sign on San Diego Retrieved on November 26, 2007
  2. ^ Major U.S. school shootings in the last 10 years Fox News
  3. ^ The Killing of Kayla Time Magazine
  4. ^ Student killed in Michigan elementary school shooting CNN at the Wayback Machine (archived January 3, 2008)
  5. ^ Michigan first-grader fatally shot by classmate CNN
  6. ^ More Indictments In School Shooting CBS News
  7. ^ Broughton, Philip Delves (2000-03-01). "Shocked pupils tell of shooting by six-year-old". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  8. ^ Dwyer, Kevin and Fiorillo, Juré. True Stories of Law & Order: SVU. 2007: Berkley/Penguin, page 15. ISBN 0-425-21735-3)
  9. ^ Mullen, Roneisha D. (2009-04-08). "Site of Beecher 2000 school shooting reduced to rubble". MLive. Retrieved 2016-12-15. 
  10. ^ Baker, Mike (June 1, 2004). "Moore criticism needed". University of Washington. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°04′49″N 83°42′20″W / 43.08028°N 83.70556°W / 43.08028; -83.70556