Friday, October 7, 2011
Kayla Renee Rolland
May 12, 1993 ~ February 29, 2000
The shooting of Kayla Rolland occurred at Buell Elementary School in Mount Morris Township, Michigan, United States on February 29, 2000. Six-year-old Dedrick Owens fatally shot classmate Kayla Renee Rolland (May 12, 1993 – February 29, 2000) in a classroom before being taken into police custody. Buell Elementary School closed in 2002. It was part of the Beecher Community School District.
The incident began when 6-year-old Dedrick Owens found a .32-caliber handgun in his uncle's home and brought the firearm to Buell Elementary School. Further in the day, during a changing of classes, Owens fatally shot 6-year-old Kayla Rolland in the presence of a teacher and 22 students, saying to her "I don't like you" before pulling the trigger. The bullets entered her right arm and traveled through her vital organs. At 10:59 a.m. EST, Rolland was pronounced dead at Hurley Medical Center while in cardiac arrest.
Owens then threw the handgun into a wastebasket 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. He and his two younger siblings have since been placed with an aunt.
At six years of age, Kayla Rolland is believed to be the youngest school shooting victim in U.S. history. Dedrick Owens is the youngest school shooter. Due to Owens' age and lack of ability to form intent, Owens was never charged for the murder. In most U.S. states, six-year-olds are not liable for crimes they commit. 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.
Jamelle James, who owned the .32-caliber semiautomatic pistol, eventually pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter and spent 2 years and 5 months in prison before eventually being released and living on probation. The other adults involved would be in and out of court systems in the years to follow. Two years later, Buell Elementary School was closed, and was demolished in January 2009.
The incident was documented in the 2002 Michael Moore film Bowling for Columbine.