Family of Bremerton school shooting victim suing


by KING 5 News

Posted on August 15, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 16 at 9:40 AM

The family of Amina Bowman, the girl who was shot in a Bremerton elementary school classroom in February, is suing the family of the boy who brought the gun to school for $10 million.

Amina, 9, was in a classroom at Armin Jahr Elementary on Feb. 22 when she was hit by a bullet. Police said the .45 caliber handgun was in a classmate's backpack and it went off on its own. Amina was critically injured, but survived after numerous surgeries and she went home in April.

The Bowman Family's attorney said the boy's home had an "arsenal of weapons." At least four loaded guns were allegedly found around the house, with ammunition that included hollow point bullets.

"When you have kids in the house, you should keep things away from them, much like we do poison," said John Bowman, Amina's father.

The attorney also said the school district should have known the boy was a potential threat. The boy allegedly had been bullied by other students, who were since suspended. Other students allegedly knew the boy had talked about bringing a gun to school, but didn’t say anything to teachers. The family contends the district should have put processes in place that would have encouraged students to report what they knew.

"When you have children acting out, you need to connect with those children and see just how deeply troubled they are," said Jeff Campiche, Bowman family attorney.

Amina’s mother, Terri Bowman, said her daughter has her good and bad days, and that the Fourth of July was hard for her because she’s now afraid of loud noises.

"It's hard to see her not be normal anymore,” said Terri.

Amina will attend a private Catholic school this fall.

"She loves school, but she isn't excited about wearing a skirt,” said Terri.

Jamie Lee Chaffin, the boy’s mother, pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm. Chaffin, a convicted felon, was prohibited from owning a firearm. Prosecutors are recommending 14 months in prison for each count.

Chaffin was also charged with third-degree felony assault, but that charge was dropped in a plea deal. In return, she is expected to testify against her boyfriend, Douglas Bauer. Had she been convicted on the assault charge, Chaffin could have faced five years in prison.

Bauer was charged with third-degree assault and unlawful firearms possession, but the judge threw out the firearm charge. His trial is still pending.