The story of a first grade shooter
Ten years ago this week a 6-year-old boy took a gun from his 19-year-old uncle's home to school. He then shot and killed his 6-year-old classmate Kayla Rolland.
Kayla TMs father Ricky Rolland says he knows what he would say to her if he could see her today.
I love her. I miss her, he says unable to hold back the tears. I want to spend time with her.
Kayla TMs family isn TMt the only one destroyed on that tragic day.
The young shooter lost his innocence and was ripped away from the family he knew. His mother Tamarla Owens eventually waived her right to custody of him.
She had left her children in the care of their uncle because their father Dedric Owens was in jail, she had just been evicted, and the Welfare-to-Work program in place at the time required she work two low-paying jobs or lose benefits.
Flint attorney Mark Clement represented Mrs. Owens after the shooting. He says she was a victim of poverty and a program that took mothers away from their children.
They (The Mackinac Center for Public Policy) predicted that with this program there was going to be a tragedy, says Clement.
He needed more guidance than he was getting, says Stephany Edwards. He really did. I mean his uncle was dealing drugs."
Edwards lived across the street from the boy TMs uncle Jamelle James on Juliah Avenue in Mount Morris Township. She says neighbors reported crime and neglect at the shooter TMs home. Social workers began to investigate, but didn TMt finish before the tragic day.
James served just over two years in prison for Kayla TMs death because the gun in his possession killed her.
Genesee County TMs Prosecutor at the time Art Busch says the boy underwent therapy at the Whaley Children TMs Center. Because of privacy laws the now 16-year-old cannot easily be located. Busch says by all reports he TMs received the young shooter never reoffended. Busch hopes it stays that way.
My advice to him is to stay away from guns, get an education, and never forget what happened, says Busch.
There are many around in this community who will work to make sure everyone remembers.