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BBC's Philippa Thomas reports
"The killer, too, is a victim"
 real 28k

Tom Carver reports from Washington
"No politician seems prepared to call for significant curbs on gun ownership"
 real 28k

Ricky Rolland, father of the victim
"All she did was to tell the boy to leave her alone"
 real 28k

Arthur Bush, Genesee County Prosecutor
"I am concerned about the placement of this little boy"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 1 March, 2000, 15:29 GMT
No charges for schoolboy killer
Mother and child
Parents hurried to the school to collect their children
A six-year old boy who shot dead a classmate at a US school will not face criminal charges.

The boy shot Kayla Rolland, also six, with a single shot from a .32 calibre handgun in front of her teacher and other school pupils at a primary school near Flint, Michigan 100km (65 miles) north-west of Detroit.

I don't believe this is happening. A first-grader shoots another first-grader. First-graders shouldn't be able to get a gun

Parent Freddie Booth
The girl was rushed to hospital where she died 30 minutes later.

Genesee County Prosecutor Arthur Busch said the boy would not face a criminal trial.

"There is a presumption in law that a child ... is not criminally responsible and can't form an intent to kill," he said.

"Obviously, he has done a very terrible thing today, but legally, he can't be held criminally responsible."

Tommy Davis and daughter Margarett
Tommy Davis consoles his 10-year-old daughter after the shooting
However, Mr Busch did not rule out the possibility of bringing charges such as gross negligence and involuntary manslaughter against anyone suspected of allowing the boy to obtain and carry the gun.

US President Bill Clinton challenged presidential candidates to make gun-control an issue in the forthcoming election.

"If we have the technology today to put in these child safety locks why don't we do it?" he asked.

"I think this is once again a call to us to do whatever we can to protect our children from this sort of violence and this tragedy."


The killing occurred on Tuesday morning, when the children were playing outside the school.

The boy fired a single bullet which struck Kayla Rolland in the neck. He then ran into a bathroom and dropped the gun into a rubbish bin.

Kayla Rolland
Kayla Rolland died after receiving a single shot in the neck
It was not immediately clear if the shooting was accidental or intentional, Police Chief Eric King said.

Some reports suggest the boy had been showing off; others that the two children had been arguing.

A pupil in another class, nine-year-old Corey Sutton, told how he heard a bang, but thought it was a desk falling over.

He added: "The principal came over the PA system and told teachers to shut their doors and lock them. I was scared, my heart was pounding."

Freddie Booth arrived at the school soon after the shooting to look for his 8-year-old daughter, Fredricka.

"I don't believe this is happening," Mr Booth said.

"A first-grader shoots another first-grader. First-graders shouldn't be able to get a gun. I just want my daughter out of here. She has been traumatised, I'm sure."

'Fully armed society'

After the shooting, the rest of Buell Elementary School, in Mount Morris Township, was evacuated to a local church hall, where distraught parents were waiting to comfort their children.

America and the Gun
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  • There have been many other school shootings in the US - most notably the Columbine massacre last year - but this is the first attack by a child so young.

    Prosecutors have not said how they think the boy got hold of the gun, which they say had been reported stolen in December.

    His father is serving time in the county jail and the boy lived with his mother and other relatives.

    The boy is now reported to be in the custody of the state's Family Independence Agency, which is also to take the boy's sibling into care.

    In April 1999, two teenagers went on the rampage at the Columbine High School in Denver, Colorado, killing 12 of their fellow students and a teacher before taking their own lives.

    One month later, a student opened fire at Heritage High School near Conyers, Georgia, injuring six schoolmates before being taken into custody.

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    16 Sep 99 |  Americas
    Analysis: Recent gun legislation
    21 Apr 99 |  Americas
    When children kill
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