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March 6, 2012 at 12:55 PM

9-year-old pleads guilty in Bremerton school shooting

PORT ORCHARD — The 9-year-old Bremerton boy who took to school a handgun that accidentally discharged and critically wounded a classmate pleaded guilty this afternoon to three criminal charges, but will face probation and treatment rather than juvenile detention.

Amina Kocer-Bowman, 8, was wounded when the .45-caliber handgun accidentally discharged near the end of the school day on Feb. 22.

The boy pleaded guilty in Kitsap County Juvenile Court to unlawful possession of a gun, bringing a dangerous weapon to school and reckless endangerment. Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, the boy will be required to complete 48 hours of community service by undergoing counseling. He will be on probation for 12 months.

The boy was also ordered to write a letter of apology to Amina and her family.

Prosecutors dropped a charge of third-degree assault, the only felony charge the boy faced.

The boy could’ve faced up to 30 days in juvenile detention followed by 12 months on the juvenile version of probation.

The Seattle Times is not naming him because he is charged as a juvenile.

In a small voice, the 75-pound boy said, “I’m sorry” when he was asked if he wanted to address the court.
Shortly after the shooting, Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hague said his office had hoped to hold the boy accountable not through incarceration but rather probation and treatment. Hague told the Kitsap Sun that “nobody is trying to lock this little boy up.”

Bremerton police said the third-grader obtained the handgun during a visit to his mother’s home and carried it in his backpack to Armin Jahr Elementary School on Feb. 22. The handgun, which was cocked and loaded, accidentally discharged when the boy slammed the backpack on his desk, police said.

Amina was struck in the arm and abdomen by a bullet.

She was in serious condition Tuesday at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, where she has undergone five surgeries. Hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg says the girl is on a ventilator to help her breathe. She is sedated, but is responsive when awake.

Gregg says no further surgery is scheduled at this time.

According to court records, the boy has had a tumultuous life, with troubled parents, adoption, a family death and now a guardianship.

An arrest warrant for the boy’s mother, Jamie Lee Passmore, and her boyfriend, Douglas L. Bauer, was issued on Monday. Bremerton police said the couple negligently left loaded guns and shotguns around their Allyn-area home, allowing the boy easy access to the weapon.
The couple were not immediately taken into custody, police said. The boy’s lawyer, Eric John Makus, said they were on a  previously planned trip to Las Vegas for a NASCAR event.
Jeffery M. Campiche, the attorney for Amina’s family, said the boy’s sentence was the result of a “logistical” decision by police and prosecutors to go after the adults who provided access to the weapon rather than the boy himself. He called it “a bargain with an unpleasant taste to it.”

Reading from a prepared statement, Amina’s father, John Bowman, said he and his wife have grave concerns about the “volatile, unstable” home in which the boy and his siblings reside. The boy and his siblings live with an uncle along with their father.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: assault, Bremerton, Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office

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