A 6-year-old boy shoots someone. Whose fault is it? The sister of one of the victims speaks

When a 6-year-old boy shot and killed his little sister 23 years ago, Elizabeth Krasinski says, she forgave him.

It took her years to forgive herself.

Now, it has happened again: a 6-year-old boy brought a gun to school and shot someone. This time, a boy shot his teacher inside Richneck Elementary School. in Newport News, Virginia: The teacher, Abigail Zwerner, survived and is in stable condition. Krasinski said anger over her sister’s death flared when he heard the shooter was, as she put it, “another kid.”

“I knew, even when I was 11, that the boy (who shot my sister) had no education,” he says. “If this kid had been educated about the amount of damage and the amount of damage this weapon could deal, then there wouldn’t be… you know. He just didn’t have a full understanding.”

Elizabeth was just 11 years old in 2000 and it was her responsibility to drive her younger brother and 6-year-old sister, Kayla Rolland, to school.

“My sister didn’t want to go, sometimes it was like that,” Krasinski, a now 34-year-old mother of four living in Michigan, tells TODAY.com. “However, I forced her to go, because I knew I was going to get in trouble. The whole time, we just fought and yelled and argued. I remember the last thing we said to each other: she said she hated me, and I told her I hated her.” .

Elizabeth Krasinski with her brother and little sister, Kayla Rolland.  (Courtesy of Elizabeth Krasinski)

Elizabeth Krasinski with her brother and little sister, Kayla Rolland. (Courtesy of Elizabeth Krasinski)

Later that morning, inside his first-grade classroom at Buell Elementary School, Kayla was shot by a 6-year-old classmate. that he had brought a loaded gun to school, the New York Times reported. She was rushed to Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan and pronounced dead at 10:29 a.m.

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Krasinksi was pulled from her high school history class.

“I was in history class when I was kicked out because of my sister, and I was in history class when the planes brought down the Twin Towers,” he recalls.

Krasinski met his brother in the principal’s office and says no one told either brother what had happened. It wasn’t until their stepfather picked them up and took them to the hospital that they learned his sister had been shot.

“We got to the hospital and that’s when my mom told me he was gone,” Krasinski says. “I didn’t believe him. My sister made jokes, she wanted to be funny and she wanted to be the light of any space. I said, ‘No, Kayla is playing a trick on us.’ So she finally let me into the room to see her. I remember looking at her, and the blue was starting to settle. I remember going to the table and shaking her awake, telling her to wake up from her, and she didn’t wake up.”

Elizabeth Krasinski, a proud older sister holding her baby sister, Kayla.  (Courtesy of Elizabeth Krasinski)

Elizabeth Krasinski, a proud older sister holding her baby sister, Kayla. (Courtesy of Elizabeth Krasinski)

Shootings carried out by someone so young are extremely rare, according to David Riedman, founder of the K-12 School Shot Databasewhich has been tracking US school shootings since the 1970s.

The Newport News school shooting this month “marks the 17th shooting by someone under the age of 10 at a school,” he said. “It’s rare for a 6-year-old to pull the trigger.”

Krasinski says that when she found out that “another kid” carried out the shooting, she was “angry at the parents and at society.”

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Elizabeth Krasinski and her siblings, celebrating Halloween.  (Courtesy of Elizabeth Krasinski)

Elizabeth Krasinski and her siblings, celebrating Halloween. (Courtesy of Elizabeth Krasinski)

While Krasinksi says her mother shielded her from the details of her sister’s shooting, when she turned 18 she did some “dig” and learned more about the 6-year-old girl who killed Kayla.

found out that the child was living in a notorious drug house with his uncle, as reported by local Michigan news MLive; the boy’s father was jailed and his mother had been evicted from her family’s home two weeks before the shooting.

The boy’s uncle, Marcus Winfrey, pleaded guilty to possession of the stolen gun used in the shootingaccording to the Associated Press, and another man who lives in the house, Jamelle James, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter for leaving the gun in a shoebox in his bedroom. He was sentenced to between 2 and 15 years in prisonreported Associated Press.

“Reading about his upbringing, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re a poverty-stricken kid going through the same issues we’re going through,'” Krasinksi says. “He was a complete and repeating pattern.”

Two of Elizabeth Krasinski's children visiting their aunt's grave on her birthday.  (Courtesy of Elizabeth Krasinski)

Two of Elizabeth Krasinski’s children visiting their aunt’s grave on her birthday. (Courtesy of Elizabeth Krasinski)

Krasinksi says he never blamed the 6-year-old for killing his sister, nor the gun itself. As a Second Amendment advocate and registered gun owner, she says she has never wanted her sister’s death to be used as a political talking point in the gun control debate. She grew up hunting with her father and was used to having guns inside her childhood home.

Instead, she says that she blamed herself for her sister’s death.

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“I was the one who sent her to school,” he says. “It was my fault, because I was the one who forced her to leave. After getting over the guilt, I became bitter, bitter towards my sister for leaving me.”

It wasn’t until Krasinksi gave birth to her first child in 2011, a daughter she named Kayla, that she was able to forgive herself and her sister.

“When I saw my daughter for the first time, I realized that she was holding a lot of hate,” she explains. “Looking at my daughter, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re the perfect match between me and my sister.’ Why would I want to hold onto such bitterness when everything about me and my sister in this person is perfect?”

Although Krasinksi misses Kayla desperately, she says she would say hello to the boy, now an adult, who shot and killed her sister with open arms.

“If I knew him, I would hug him and tell him he was a boy and I didn’t understand what he was doing,” she says. “Don’t let that incident define who you are.”

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This article was originally published on TODAY.com