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8-year-old girl critically wounded in Washington state school shooting

An 8-year-old girl is clinging to life after she was shot, apparently accidentally, at her Washington state elementary school. A boy at the school is in custody, booked for illegal weapon possession. KING-TV's Jim Forman reports.

Updated at 12:38 a.m. ET: Police said a Wash. elementary school shooting that critically wounded an 8-year-old girl was apparently an accident.

Armin Jahr Elementary School in Bremerton, Wash., across the Puget Sound from Seattle, was just letting out for the day when the victim, a girl in the third grade, was shot at about 1:29 p.m. local time (4:29 p.m. ET), Bremerton police said. The city, which houses a naval base, is an hour ferry ride from downtown Seattle.

A Bremerton Police Department statement said a student had a firearm in his back pack that apparently discharged, striking the victim. Detectives believe the shooting to be an accident, the statement said.

Investigators were still trying to determine how the boy came to be in possession of the gun. He was booked into Kitsap County Juvenile Detention Center for unlawful possession of a firearm, bringing a dangerous weapon unto school grounds and third degree assault based upon criminal negligence. Bremerton police Lt. Peter Fisher said the gun used in the shooting had been recovered.


The girl, identified as Amina Bowman, was flown to Harborview trauma center in Seattle with a gunshot wound, the hospital said. Hospital officials told NBC station KING of Seattle Wednesday evening that Amina had emerged from surgery but faces more surgery.

KING-TV

An air ambulance is seen flying the victim to a trauma center in Seattle.

Although Amina is a minor, her identity was released after her grandmother named her in local media interviews. Her grandmother, Cindy Kocer, told KING the family expects Amina to be OK but is asking the public for its prayers. 

Kocer told KING 5 that she was watching TV of the shooting just before learning her granddaughter was involved.

"She will pull through," Kocer said.  "If I can make a plea to all my CFC (Couples for Christ) families, please pray for her. That's all I need. That's all we need."

Kerri Johnson, the mother of a fourth-grader at the school, which is named for a former district superintendent, told KING that her son heard the shot.

“He’s really scared, but he’s fine,” Johnson said.

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, the Associated Press reported.

"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.

Todd Miyazawa and Olivia Santini of NBC News and M. Alex Johnson of msnbc.com contributed to this report.

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The shooting occurred in Bremerton, Wash., about 15 miles west of Seattle.

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