Bremerton girl shot in class with .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol


by KING 5 News, Associated Press

Posted on February 23, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 9:12 AM

Bremerton school shooting

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BREMERTON, Wash. -- The 9-year-old boy who brought a gun to a Bremerton school and accidentally shot an 8-year-old classmate was released from the Kitsap County Juvenile Detention Center late Thursday.

Amina Bowman was shot in the abdomen during class at Armin Jahr Elementary Wednesday afternoon. She remains on a ventilator and in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center. Her doctors said the bullet remains lodged in the muscles around her spine, and she will need many more surgeries in order to fully recover.

Crying and wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, the boy appeared before a juvenile court judge Thursday afternoon as his father gently rubbed his back. He was held on $50,000 bail, but bailed out by evening.

Court documents detailed students' and teachers' accounts of what happened inside the classroom, revealing the boy said he got the gun from his mother's house, and brought it to school because he planned to run away.

Documents stated the boy had a .45 caliber semi-automatic Heckler and Koch pistol in his backpack, cocked and with the safety off. Witnesses said he slammed the backpack down on a desk, and the gun fired, hitting Bowman in the abdomen.

One witness said Bowman "dropped to the floor with a hole in her stomach and bleeding" and another said smoke was seen coming from the student's backpack.

The 9-year-old boy is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, bringing a dangerous weapon onto school property and third-degree assault.

"I just want everyone to know that my kid made a mistake. It was a terrible mistake," the boy's father, Jason Cochran, said outside the courthouse.

If the bail is met, the boy would be released to his uncle, who is his legal guardian and who also sat by his side in the courthouse.

"He's a good kid. It's all I can say," said Patrick Cochran. "I apologize to the family of that girl. I really do."

Kitsap County officials said the boy's mother and father both have extensive criminal records.

Out on bail, the boy is expected to be under house arrest until his next hearing, two weeks away.

Amina to undergo surgery again Friday

Dr. Eileen Bulger, a Harborview surgeon who operated on Amina, said another surgery is scheduled for Friday in her long recovery process.

Bulger said Amina's injuries are life-threatening, and that she endured massive bleeding and has many complicated injuries to her internal organs. The bullet from the pistol remains lodged in the muscles around her spine, but there is no evidence of a spinal injury at this time.

Amina remains sedated while on a breathing machine, but doctors were able to bring her out of sedation for brief times yesterday. They said she briefly interacted with her parents.

"She is out of the wood from the immediate bleeding," said Dr. Bulger. "She was very close to death yesterday and now she has stopped bleeding, but she has a long road ahead of her."

"We ask that you keep Amina in your thoughts and prayers as she takes her first steps on a long road to recovery," her father, John Bowman, said.

John Bowman thanked the quick action of Amina's teacher, who he said administered first aid and tried to get the bleeding under control.

"Teachers like Natalie are truly unsung heroes," he said.

Bowman also thanked hospital staff, and a man who gave him a ride immediately after he heard the news about his daughter yesterday.

"I would also like to extend a personal thank you to the Good Samaritan who provided me with a ride from the downtown Bremerton Post Office. Without you, I would not have had the opportunity to be with my family during our time of need," he said.

Armin Jahr Elementary reopens today with a crisis team and several grief counselors on school grounds available to talk with students, teachers and parents.

Friends and family have set up a trust for Amina. To donate, visit any Bank of America branch and ask for the Amina Bowman trust.