Red Lion continues to mourn slain 12-year-old while focusing on other at-risk youths

Meredith Willse
York Dispatch

The Red Lion community, still reeling from the shooting death of 12-year-old Kain Heiland, came together this weekend to mourn and to support other teens.

That included a vigil and mental health fundraiser organized by Gypsy Manson. The event, which featured eight local bands, raised $1,600 for several area nonprofits.

“It’s going toward the overall greater community of York,” he said. “I felt like that’s perfect.”

Young attendees of the vigil for Kain could attend the performances for free. As of Monday, no arrests had been made in Kain's April 1 slaying.

Manson said the musicians spoke between songs throughout the night about mental health, as well. Not everyone was able to pay the $10 at the door, so event organizers changed it to $10 or whatever they could pay.

“We wanted everybody to be involved whether they could afford it or not,” he said, explaining it wasn’t about the money. That money was being raised for goals, but organizers also wanted to raise more awareness. 

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Manson started this benefit last year. Since then, several teens lost their lives to suicide. That included Red Lion Area Senior High School student J. Carson Capik, who was found dead in February. 

The Red Lion community holds benefit for suicide awareness in Red Lion on Friday, Apr. 14, 2023.

Manson organized the event with the help of Red Lion Recreation, Suicide Prevention of York, 18 South Youth Ministries, National Alliance on Mental Health York-Adams Counties and Building Bridges for Brianna. 

Those groups had stations at the event for anyone who needed to talk or acquire resources. Manson said some teens don’t know about available resources, and he hopes this will help connect the teens to the organizations such as Building Bridges for Brianna, which is a go-between for families in need on a waiting list. 

Before The End playing the benefit for suicide awareness in Red Lion on Friday, Apr. 14, 2023.

"I’ve lived here for three years," Manson said. "I know my kids have lost a few friends locally, and there’s just so much turmoil.”

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After a child’s suicide, the community focuses on the child and their family, Manson said, but the other students need help, too. They don’t have a lot of resources and are put on waiting lists to get help. He’s hoping this gets the teens closer to the help or resources they need.

The Pennsylvania State Police also attended the event to distribute free gun locks and gun safety information in the wake of the Kain's shooting death by another local student.

The Red Lion community holds benefit for suicide awareness in Red Lion on Friday, Apr. 14, 2023.

Meanwhile, another event — a "Ride for Red Lion" — is planned Sunday as a vigil for Kain that will include food trucks, games and an all-vehicle ride through town. Participants can meet at noon Sunday at the Double Barrel Roadhouse, 3290 Cape Horn Road, Red Lion.

If you've experienced thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free through the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling 988 in the United States. You can find more information

— Reach Meredith Willse at or on Twitter at @MeredithWillse.