Teen charged in shooting death of Red Lion boy to stay in juvenile facility

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

A 13-year-old boy accused of shooting and killing a Red Lion boy will remain in a juvenile center while charged as an adult.

Nolan Grove appeared in court Friday for a hearing on the status of his custody.

Attorneys on both sides agreed the teen should remain at a KidsPeace facility outside of York County, “for as long as they’ll have him,” his attorney, Farley Holt, told the court. Grove was placed there after he was charged with third-degree murder and arrested May 5.

Nolan Grove

He also faces a misdemeanor count of involuntary manslaughter, four misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment and a felony count of possession of a firearm by a minor.

Investigators allege Grove shot and killed 12-year-old Kain Heiland near Grove’s home on the evening of April 1 after the two of them, along with a third boy, spent the day hanging out together while out and about.

This is one of the many photos of Kain Heiland that has been used by may in Red Lion as they pushed to get justice for him. Heiland was shot and killed April 1. A teen he was allegedly hanging out with that day, Nolan Grove, was charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in connection with Heiland's death. Submitted photo

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The third teen, who police say witnessed the shooting, told investigators that Grove played with a .380-caliber handgun, allegedly from his home, throughout that Saturday. He was seen loading and unloading the magazine, turning the red laser sight on and off several times and fidgeting with the weapon, according to charging documents.

Grove also allegedly pointed the gun at Kain at least twice that evening.

York County District Attorney Dave Sunday, along with his office and the Pennsylvania State Police, updating the media in the homicide case of Kain Heiland in York on Friday, May 5, 2023.

During one incident, security video at one of the boys’ homes showed the laser sight shining on Kain. He told Grove to take his finger off the trigger, and it wasn’t fair that, “I’m the only one without a gun,” Pennsylvania State Police quoted him as saying in charging documents.

The juvenile witness told police he had a BB gun on him at that time.

The boy later started a two-hour FaceTime call with a fourth boy as the group hung out, police said.

Video from the call, which appeared on social media, showed another incident in which Grove pointed the gun at Kain, shining the laser sight on him, while Kain lay on the ground with his face covered, charging documents show.

The teen from the FaceTime call told police he saw Grove point the gun at Kain and the other boy multiple times and once at a building. He also said he heard Grove fire the gun, charging documents show.

Other young witnesses told investigators about a dispute over a scooter that evening, during which Grove allegedly said he wasn’t afraid to shoot anybody. One witness said Grove also pointed the gun at the others after the confrontation, according to charging documents.

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The three boys crossed a neighbor’s yard near Grove’s home around 8:20 p.m., with the witness saying Grove had fidgeted with the gun around that time, according to police. Grove also allegedly teased Kain about his mom, one of a slew of such jokes allegedly made that day.

Kain reportedly told him to be quiet.

Grove replied with either “You know what happens” or “You know what would happen,” according to what the witness told police. Grove then allegedly pulled the gun from his sweatshirt pocket while he walked behind Kain, charging documents show.

The pistol fired right into Kain's back, police said.

A memorial for Kain Heiland on High St. in Red Lion on Friday, Apr. 14, 2023. in Red Lion on Friday, Apr. 14, 2023.

The third boy yelled an expletive at Grove, and Grove was heard saying, “I’m so sorry, K,” charging documents show.

The boys then allegedly ran from the scene, charging documents show. They went to the witness's home, where he told police he asked Gove why he had shot Kain. The boy said Grove didn’t really answer.

They then allegedly went back to Kain's body and grabbed the BB gun the witness had dropped.

Neither teen called 911, police said. Not right away, at least. Grove called his father, who was in Harrisburg, police said.

The witness went back home and told his parents about the shooting, and they called 911, charging documents show.

Other court documents show Grove’s mother told investigators that Grove told her the shooting was unintentional. He held the gun while swinging his arm and it fired accidentally.

The investigation into the shooting went to a York County grand jury, which recommended the charges.

Following Grove’s arrest on the adult-level charges, attorneys said York County Court of Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook refused to put the 13-year-old in York County Prison.

She ordered the county’s juvenile probation department to take custody of him, and arrangements were made for him to be held at the KidsPeace center.

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At Friday’s status hearing, Holt said Grove is on track to undergo a psychological evaluation next month. The attorney also working to have a doctor examine the teen to help determine whether to transfer the case to juvenile court.

Grove is scheduled to return to court in the case June 27 for a preliminary hearing before District Judge John Fishel. Another hearing on the status of the teen’s custody is expected to be held around the same time.

— Reach Aimee Ambrose at aambrose@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.