Every year, nearly 3000 children and teens die from gunfire, and nearly 14,000 are injured.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

8-year old girl shot at school by fellow third-grader in Bremerton, Washington

Amina Kocer-Bowman, age 8
An 8-year old girl was shot in a classroom in Bremerton, Washington, by another student who brought a loaded handgun to class.  The 9-year old boy classmate apparently had the loaded gun for four hours during class.

Currently, the shooter's name has not been released, how he got the gun, or whether it was an accident or intentional shooting.

From the article and news footage:
The incident unfolded at the school, located at 800 Dibb St., at approximately 1:30 p.m. The 8-year-old girl, who was shot in the stomach, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition. She was alert and conscious at the time.
The bullet passed through her backpack and into her abdomen.  The school was locked down and the shooter was taken into custody.  The gun was retrieved in the classroom.

The girl's name in Amina Bowman.  From another article:

"I ask my friends to pray for her," said Bowman's grandmother Cindy Kocer, as reported by CBS affiliate KEPR Pasco. "She'll be 9 in a couple of weeks." 
Affiliate KIRO reported that Bill Poss, the husband of the teacher who was in the classroom when the shooting happened, said the student shooter was a recent transfer at the school. 
"I don't know a lot about the kid other than my wife's been coming home talking about him, and he's been a real problem in the class, and she's been very concerned about it," Poss said.

From another article:
Many questions remained, including how a child could have obtained a loaded weapon and brought it into a grade school classroom. 
In the latest scorecard by the Brady Campaign, a national gun control advocacy group, Washington scored no points in the child safety category because the state does not require trigger locks for guns and lacks laws to prevent child access to firearms. 
“Washington state is a loosely regulated state when it comes to firearms,” said Gregory Roberts, executive director of Washington Cease Fire, a Brady Campaign affiliate.
UPDATE (2/23/12):  According to THIS article, the gun was a .45 and came from the boy's mother's house.

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 witnes 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. 
Both the boy's father and uncle were in court for his first appearance. The uncle is the boy's legal guardian. Both men insisted the boy is a good kid and that this behavior was out of character for him.
UPDATE (2/26/12):  The boy likely faces probation.  He likely got the gun from his mother's house after a visit with her, Jamie Lee Chaffin, a felon.  How is it a felon is still able to get a gun?  Is it because anyone can legally purchase a gun in a private sale in Washington state without a background check or even ID?

The 9-year old boy who shot Amina.
From a related article:
Police believe the boy got the gun during a weekend visit with his mother, Jamie Lee Chaffin.
According to court documents, Chaffin has been convicted of forgery and drug crimes. As a felon, her right to own a firearm was revoked. She completed court-ordered drug treatment, and no additional criminal charges were filed against her after 2007.
The boy's father, Jason Cochran, has been convicted of violating protection orders relating to Chaffin and has been taken to court for child support.
Both parents relinquished custody of the boy and his two sisters to his paternal grandmother. She died shortly after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2010, and the boy's uncle Patrick Cochran was granted custody.
As for young Amina, Doctors said that she will likely be in the hospital for several weeks and face further surgeries. She was sedated and on a ventilator but has woken up and interacted with her parents

UPDATE (3/16/12): The boy's mother, Jamie Lee Chaffin, who is a felon, and her boyfriend have been sent to jail on felony charges as a result of allowing her son to access and take the gun.  From the article:

Chaffin, who has a history of drug and forgery convictions, was ordered taken into custody by Kitsap County District Court Judge Jeffrey Jahns, in part, because she has outstanding arrest warrants in Pierce County, the Kitsap Sun reported.
Chaffin, and her boyfriend, Douglas L. Bauer, 50, were both originally charged with unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with the Feb. 22 incident at Armin Jahr Elementary School that wounded 8-year-old Amina. Bremerton police said the gun was registered to Bauer.
Chaffin faces a second count of unlawful possession of a firearm because as a felon she is banned from possessing firearms.
But the penalty for those charges did not seem serious enough to Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge, who says he intends to test the law by charging the pair with the more serious crime of felony assault.
"It's not been done before, that we know, but we're confident in our research," he said Thursday.

Every gun in the hands of a child must first pass through the hands of an adult.

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