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The murder of Kayla Rolland was an incident of murder that 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 Rolland (born May 12, 1993) in a classroom before being 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 .32-caliber handgun in his uncle's home,[2][3] 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. The bullet 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.[4]

Owens then threw the handgun into a wastebasket and fled to a nearby restroom. He was found there 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 is believed to be the youngest school shooting victim in U.S. history.[7] 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.[8]

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.[1] Two years later, Buell Elementary School was closed, and was demolished in January 2009.


  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
  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 0425217353)

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