Red Lion boy fatally shot by 13-year-old, investigators allege

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

Investigators allege a 13-year-old boy pulled the trigger that resulted in the death of 12-year-old Kain Heiland in Red Lion on Saturday, according to a search warrant in the case.

Police took a .380-caliber handgun, bullets, clothes, photos and a 13-year-old boy’s DNA as evidence as part of the investigation into the shooting death of another boy last weekend.

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The items were taken early Sunday morning, according to details in a search warrant, about eight hours after Heiland was shot in the back outside a home in Red Lion. The gun, a KelTec P3AT pistol, had five bullets in its magazine, the Pennsylvania State Police noted in the warrant’s property inventory. Specs show the gun has a six-round magazine.

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Investigators found a .380 shell casing on the ground near Heiland’s body, which was found lying between two houses in the first block of First Avenue after police responded around 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

The 12-year-old was out with two other boys, both age 13, on Saturday evening, even though the three were supposed to be at one of the boys’ homes along West Broadway, according to what one of the boys told the state police during a witness interview.

The three walked to the home of the other 13-year-old, along First Avenue. There, that teen climbed up to a balcony to get inside. He allegedly had a gun with a laser sight when he came back down, police said.

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The boy joked about Heiland’s mother, and Heiland told him to shut up. The boy then allegedly pointed the gun and fired, shooting Heiland in the upper back at close range, police said.

Heiland made a noise and dropped. The boy with the gun scrambled back up to the balcony while the other teen ran home.

A photo, which police learned about during the investigation, showed the suspect pointing the gun with its laser shining at what appeared to be Heiland’s head as he covered his face with his hand, the warrant affidavit shows.

Support offered: As the Red Lion area reels from the loss, the community, including the school district, is stepping up in different ways to help.  

Red Lion Area School District is offering counseling services through administrators and counselors to students and staff. Other community partners will offer mental health services to the students. 

"As a district, we will continue to seek out community resources and partnerships to support the needs of our students, faculty and staff," the district said in a statement. It also extended its condolences to those involved.

Family of God Community Church will have a consolation and prayer support period at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the church’s gym at 147 First Ave., Red Lion.

Father brought teen in: Investigators said the suspect’s father and stepmother brought the teen to the state police barracks in Loganville on Sunday morning following the fatal shooting.

When police interviewed the father, he reportedly said a neighbor called him about a shooting in the area, and that was followed by his son calling him to come home. He reportedly said that, after he got back, he checked the gun safe he kept hidden in a wall mount and confirmed the .380 pistol was secured in it, the warrant affidavit shows.

Earlier, the one boy told police the suspect had allegedly accessed guns before and showed them off.

Charges have not yet been filed in the case, police said. As a result, The York Dispatch is not releasing the names of the teen suspect or his father.

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The affidavit doesn’t say whether police interviewed the suspect. It notes he wore different clothes at the station than what he was described as wearing earlier in the night.

Search warrant: Police argued for getting the search warrant for the overnight hours, in part out of concerns that evidence at the suspect’s home could be destroyed if investigators waited until later Sunday morning.

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Police also argued for the overnight search so the family wouldn’t be kept at the station for a long period of time, according to the affidavit.

Between 4 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., according to the warrant document, police took photos of the suspect, DNA swabs, the clothes he was wearing and a phone.

The handgun, bullets in the magazine, a gun box, another magazine and nine bullets were taken, apparently from the house. A black sweatshirt and blue jeans, matching a description of what the suspect wore at the time of the shooting, were also taken, according to the warrant document.

— Reach Aimee Ambrose at or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD. Staff writer Meredith Willse contributed to this report.