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CNN Today

Michigan Prosecutors Seek Manslaughter Charges Against 19-Year- Old Man Linked to Elementary School Shooting

Aired March 2, 2000 - 2:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Michigan prosecutors brought homicide charges today against an adult with ties to that first-grader who shot and killed a classmate this week.

CNN's Ed Garsten joins us now from Mundy Township near Flint, Michigan with the latest on this story.

What's the story, Ed?

ED GARSTEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, prosecutor Art Busch said he wanted to send a message to America that simply having a gun in a home does not make that home safer. And so he has filed the first charges in the shooting of 6-year-old Kayla Rolland.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARTHUR BUSCH, GENESEE COUNTY PROSECUTOR: I have authorized my staff this morning to seek an arrest warrant for Jamelle Andre (ph) James, age 19, for the charge of involuntary manslaughter. The charge carries a penalty -- possible penalty, if convicted, of up to 15 years in state's prison.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GARSTEN: Well, police believe that Jamelle James had the gun, owned the gun that the 6-year-old boy used to shoot Kayla Rolland, found in this ramshackle house that prosecutors have called a flophouse and a crack house. The boy was readily able to find the handgun under a blanket on a bed, and therefore the charges. Prosecutors are also trying to terminate parental right.

And on the topic of the boy's parents, the boy's father, who is in the jail for a parole violation on a burglary charge, spoke publicly today. He said that neither he nor the boy's mother, from whom he's estranged, should bear any responsibility in the shooting and that his little boy certainly didn't know what he was doing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEDRIC OWENS, SUSPECT'S FATHER: He should know right from wrong, but the incident that happened that day, I don't think he knew what he was doing. I want to, you know, apologize, for one thing, to her family that this whole incident happened. You know, we're wishing that it didn't happen, you know, and pray for them. That's the only thing I can do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GARSTEN: Well, meanwhile, outside Buell Elementary School where the shooting occurred on Tuesday, people continue to leave flowers and stuffed toys and notes in memory of Kayla Rolland. School will remain closed for the rest of the week. And we are told there will be a memorial service for Kayla tomorrow tonight at a local funeral home.

Ed Garsten, CNN, reporting live from Mundy Township, Michigan.

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