Prosecutors don't want to lock up boy responsible for Bremerton shooting

Amina Kocer-Bowman with her father, John Bowman.

The 8-year-old girl who was shot in a Bremerton elementary school underwent more surgery Friday and was still in critical condition, while the family of the boy accused of accidentally shooting her posted bail and gained his release from juvenile detention.

The Kitsap Sun reports that although charges were filed agains the boy, prosecutors don't want to put him behind bars.

"Nobody is trying to lock this little boy up," Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hague said. Instead, Hague told the Kitsap Sun that he hopes to employ treatment, probation, and other services.

The girl, Amina Kocer-Bowman, was shot in her third-grade class Wednesday at Armin Jahr Elementary School in Bremerton when a gun hidden in a boy's backpack discharged accidentally, with a bullet striking the girl in the arm and abdomen, police said.

Amina was rushed in critical condition to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, where she underwent surgery Wednesday. A hospital spokeswoman said Amina underwent another two-hour surgery Friday morning and was still in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Harborview's Dr. Eileen Bugler said Amina's organs are severly damaged and she will have to undergo additional surgeries. The bullet is still lodged near her spine, and doctors may leave it there.

Amina's father, John Bowman, said of his daughter, "She's responding. She's been alert at times and has responded to me and her mother and grandmother."

Meanwhile, the family of the 9-year-old boy charged over the shooting bailed him out of juvenile detention Thursday night. The child is charged with assault, unlawful possession of a firearm and carrying a gun on school property.  The boy is now on 24-hour house arrest.

It is Q13 FOX News' policy not to name juveniles.

In documents filed by the Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office, students in the classroom told police that the boy slammed his backpack on a desk, at which point they heard a loud boom and then saw a hole in the boy's backpack. Amina fell to the floor with a gunshot wound. According to court documents, two other students said the boy had told them that he was going to run away and he told one that he needed the gun to protect himself.

In court it was revealed that the boy had a difficult home life. The boy had been removed from the custody of his parents, and the parents do not live together. The boy is in the custody of his uncle, his father's brother. His father and uncle live together.

Law enforcement records obtained Friday show that the boy's mother, Jamie L. Chaffin (aka Jamie Passmore), and his biological father, Jason Cochran, both have been convicted in the past of domestic violence and assault. The mother was also convicted of manufacturing and distribution of a controlled substance, and forgery.

The boy's uncle is his legal guardian.

The boy does have visitation with his mother and it is believed that he may have gotten the gun from his mother's boyfriend. But police said they are still investigating where the gun originated.

"I apologize to the family of the girl; he`s a good kid. I just don`t know what happened," the uncle and legal guardian, Patrick Cochran, told reporters.

"My son is a 9-year-old little boy," said the boy's biological father, Jason Cochran. "We play football, we're active, we have barbecues; this is way out of character."

The boy faces a capacity hearing on March 7, when the court will determine if he understands right from wrong.

Parents at Armin Jahr Elementary said Friday they feel someone needs to be liable. 

“Whoever’s gun it was should be held accountable for it. He had to get it from somewhere,” said Danielle Lopeman. 

“It’s not hard to get a lockbox and put a gun away. That’s where we put ours,” said Heidi Thorsen.

It’s a situation that has sparked the attention of a lawmaker in Olympia. State Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, wants tougher gun laws that would require owners to have a locked safe and trigger locks on all weapons, but noted there has historically been too much opposition to such ideas. 

“The NRA (National Rifle Association) gets up in arms and says, ‘Oh my God, this is the end of the Second Amendment. This is total violation of everything that Western civilization stands for.’  The fact is it would’ve saved this girl’s health and it would save the lives of kids,”  Kline said.

 A Pierce County prosecutor said that if the adult who owns the gun used in Wednesday's accidental shooting is arrested, the likely charge would be reckless endangerment, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and/or a fine up to $5,000.