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The BBC's Washington Correspondent Philippa Thomas
"Police report finding the boy's house in chaos"
 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

Wednesday, 1 March, 2000, 18:30 GMT
Boy killer found gun in bedroom
Parents wait for their children
Emotions ran high in the wake of the shooting
Investigators are trying to compile sufficient evidence to press charges in a school shooting case that has shocked the United States.

The six-year-old boy who shot dead a classmate in a primary school near Flint, Michigan, will not face criminal charges because he is too young.

But his mother could be charged with child neglect, and whoever provided the gun could face involuntary manslaughter charges, Genesee County prosecutor Arthur Busch said.

This boy comes from a very troubled home

Arthur Busch
The boy's father is in jail for breaking parole on a breaking and entering charge.

Mr Busch told a news conference that prosecutors hoped to gather enough evidence to press charges on Thursday.

"It's our understanding from the police investigation that this gun was obtained from a bedroom under some blankets which had been left laying, apparently loaded, in this bedroom."

Police said the gun used in the shooting had been reported stolen in December.

Mother reunited with pupil
Classes were cancelled, but the school remained open for counselling
Officers seized a stolen shotgun and illegal drugs while searching the boy's home on Tuesday.

"This boy comes from a very troubled home," Mr Busch told NBC.

"He is really a victim of a drug culture and a house that's really in chaos."

Police said the boy would be put in the custody of the state's Family Independence Agency, which is also to take his sibling into care.

This is once again a call to us to do whatever we can to protect our children from this sort of violence

President Clinton
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.

Schoolyard spat?

The boy shot Kayla Rolland, also six, with a single shot from a .32 calibre handgun in front of her teacher and other pupils at Buell Elementary School, 100km (65 miles) north of Detroit, on Tuesday.

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

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

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

Classes were cancelled on Wednesday, but the school remained open to offer counselling services.

Parents and young children placed flowers, candles and teddy bears near the school gates.

Members of the community spoke of their shock at the killing.

"This is absolutely horrifying," Wanda Brauner said, clutching her 3-year-old daughter. "It makes me so scared to send her to school."

School security

The school had no metal detectors, but employed a private security firm to monitor its hallways. Laws already are on the books across the country to keep guns and other weapons off school grounds.

America and the Gun
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  • Recent legislation
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  • Heston defends laws
  • "I don't think many districts in the country have focused on security in elementary schools," Mr Busch said.

    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.

    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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    See also:

    01 Mar 00 |  Americas
    US press outraged
    01 Mar 00 |  Americas
    Controlling America's gun culture
    01 Mar 00 |  Education
    School violence rises in California
    01 Mar 00 |  Americas
    No charges for schoolboy killer
    16 Sep 99 |  Americas
    Analysis: Recent gun legislation
    21 Apr 99 |  Americas
    When children kill
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