Seattle Boy Who Accidentally Shot Third-Grade Classmate Charged, Judge to Decide Whether Case Proceeds

Feb 24, 2012 7:51am

Preliminary charges have been filed against the third-grade boy accused of accidentally shooting his 8-year-old classmate in their Seattle-area school.

The unnamed boy has been charged with unlawful possession of a gun, bringing a dangerous weapon to school and third-degree assault. Children in Washington state between 8 and 12 can be charged if they are deemed to understand wrongdoing.

Bail was lowered from $250,000 to $50,000 at Thursday’s preliminary hearing for the 9-year-old boy, who looked frightened during a court appearance that was also attended by his father and uncle, who is the boy’s legal guardian. The boy’s mother was not at the hearing. The boy has not been named because of his age.

A capacity hearing has been scheduled for two weeks, and the boy was released on bail at some point on Thursday, according to Kitsap County prosecutor’s juvenile division.

“I just want everyone to know that my kid made a mistake. It was a terrible mistake,” the boy’s father said outside the courthouse Thursday.

Both the child’s parents have extensive criminal records, according to Kitsap County officials, but police told ABC News Seattle affiliate KOMO that they would not discuss whether they would be investigated in relation to Wednesday’s shooting.

The boy’s father and uncle told ABC News that they believe the child got the gun from his mother’s boyfriend when he was visiting her last weekend.

“He’s a good kid. It’s all I can say,” the boy’s uncle said Thursday. “I apologize to the family of that girl. I really do.”

Amina Bowman, 8, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center after the gun discharged from the boy’s backpack around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to police in Bremerton, Wash. She remains in critical condition and will face surgeries in the next few weeks, although she has interacted with her parents, KOMO reported.

Amina was alert and stable at the time of the incident and was quickly rushed to surgery, according to KOMO. “She’s at a good spot,” hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said.

Armin Jahr Elementary School was put into immediate lockdown after the incident.

“She had the kids sit, get underneath their desks and then made sure that the kids were accounted for,” MaryLou Tucker, a parent of a student at the school, said of the teacher.

Students streamed from the school into the arms of worried parents minutes after the incident.

A friend says Bowman’s mother was in disbelief when the school called.

“She’s a sweet little girl, and I don’t know what to do,” Lori Morsette told ABC News. “I’m trying to be supportive for my friends, and I’m trying to be there for them. Right now, they’re at the hospital.”

The gun was found inside the classroom as angry parents outside questioned how something like this could even happen.

Three were on hand at the school to talk to teachers, students and parents when it reopened Thursday.

“Students will continue to be safe at school, school will continue tomorrow, we will have grief counselors on site,” Bremerton schools spokesman Patty Glaser said.

ABC News’ Matt Knox and Brandon Chase contributed to this report.

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