Bremerton school shooting victim turns 9-years-old


by KING 5 News

Posted on March 19, 2012 at 7:07 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

SEATTLE – A Bremerton girl, who was shot after a gun in a classmate’s backpack went off, turned 9-years-old Monday.

Amina Bowman has made a remarkable recovery since being shot in a classroom at Armin Jahr Elementary on Feb. 22.

"I told her you're not going to quit. You're a Bowman. We never, ever quit and I told her you've got a lot of dreams that you want to fulfill," said her mother, Teri Bowman, recalling the day Amina was airlifted to the hospital.

Amina is off the ventilator and requires a feeding tube. Still weak, but she is sure of her dreams.

"Westpoint," she whispers when Teri asks what college she wants to attend.

Gradually, Amina is remembering what happened, but has lost track of time.

"She didn't think it was closer to her birthday. She still thinks it's...February 25," said her father, John Bowman.

Since being brought to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition that day, Amina has undergone five surgeries and improved to satisfactory condition. Last Thursday, she was able to get out of bed and take a few steps on her own for the first time. She is also being weaned off medication and been moved out of the intensive care unit.

A Harborview Medical Center spokesperson said Thursday that Amina still has a long way to go in her recovery.

"Actually the fact that [the bullet] went through her arm probably helped her somewhat because it slowed it down a little bit," said Amina's surgeon, Dr. Eileen Bulger. "But for an abdominal gunshot wound this is as serious as it gets."The bullet lodged in a muscle near Amina's spine is not what her concerned her doctors. Their biggest worry -- it shredded the largest vein in her body and and that is what almost killed her.

"She still has problems," said Dr. Bulger. "She still has some leakage from her intestine that's a problem."

Dr. Bulger said she hopes that leak will heal on it's own. Until then, Amina has to rely on a feeding tube.

"She's still here and we're so happy that she's still here," said Teri.

Police say a 9-year-old classmate brought the gun to school and it was in his backpack when it went off, hitting Bowman. The boy will be under department supervision for a year and have to go through 48 hours of counseling.

His mother,  Jamie Lee Chaffin, and her boyfriend, Douglas Bauer, are charged with third-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm. Prosecutors say the boy got the gun during a visit with his mother, who does not have custody of him.