Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times
Amina Kocer-Bowman, a third-grader who was critically wounded in a February shooting at a Bremerton school, left Harborview Medical Center on Tuesday. April 3 has become a special day for the family -- last year, Amina's father returned home from a 13-month tour in Iraq on that day.
The 9-year-old boy started his letter simply: “Dear Amina, I am sorry I hurt you because I brought a gun to school.”
He wrote in pencil on college-rule paper, skipping every other line. His spelling was impeccable and there were palm smudges and eraser marks.
On Feb. 22, the boy had gone to his school in Bremerton, Wash., with a .45-caliber handgun that prosecutors believe he took from the glove compartment of his mother’s truck. He had told classmates the week before that he wanted to run away because his family life had overwhelmed him.
Instead, his life took a tragic turn when he plopped his backpack down on his desk, one minute before the bell rang. The gun he had stowed went off, and the bullet critically injured a third-grade classmate, Amina Kocer-Bowman.
The boy was arrested and sentenced to probation and counseling, the Seattle Times reported. He also agreed to testify against his mother, Jamie Lee Chaffin, 34, and her boyfriend, Douglas L. Bauer, 50. Both face assault and firearm possession charges, according to the Kitsap Sun.
The boy was released from juvenile detention to his uncle, his legal guardian, the Seattle Times reported.
Ken Lambert / AP
The 9-year-old boy accused of accidentally shooting classmate Amina Bowman-Kocer at a Bremerton, Wash. elementary school school was sentenced to probation and counseling.
Amina was released from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on Tuesday after undergoing five surgeries to repair injuries to her small intestine and other organs, the Seattle Times reported. She wore a gray-hooded sweatshirt and held a stuffed panda bear as she waved shyly to members of the press.
April 3 has become an important date for the Bowman family, King 5 noted. This year, Amina returned home on that day. Last year, her father returned from a 13-month deployment to Iraq.
Amina’s doctors believe that she will make a full recovery, although she has months of physical therapy ahead of her and the bullet remains lodged near her spine, according to the Seattle Times. She also still has a feeding tube in her stomach.
In a phone interview with the Kitsap Sun, Amina said that she most looked forward to eating her grandmother’s Filipino chicken soup when she returns, even if the soup will have to go through that feeding tube.
In the letter to Amina, obtained by the Seattle Times, the boy wrote that he did not mean for anyone to get hurt. He wrote the letter on condition of his sentencing.
“I wish you were out of the hospital Playing basketball and going back to school,” he wrote. “I wish everyone was okay. I made a bad choice. I was sad, scared and afraid and I did not solve my problem well.”
The boy concluded his letter: “I will stay away from guns. I should have told a grown-up. I will promise to learn better ways to solve my problems. Again I am sorry Amina.”
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