Student shot at Armin Jahr Elementary School appears accidental

An Armin Jahr third grader gets a hug from his mom after being released by the school following the shooting of a classmate. The Bremerton School District said a fellow student shot a third grader just minutes before school let out. - Greg Skinner
An Armin Jahr third grader gets a hug from his mom after being released by the school following the shooting of a classmate. The Bremerton School District said a fellow student shot a third grader just minutes before school let out.
— image credit: Greg Skinner

A few minutes before the bell released the students at Armin Jahr Elementary School in East Bremerton Wednesday, a student was shot.

At 1:29 p.m., the Bremerton Police Department responded to a reported shooting at the elementary school.

The investigation revealed that a third-grader brought a firearm to school and it went off while in his backpack at the end of the school day, according to a press release from the police department. A bullet went through the backpack and struck a nearby third grade student. Detectives believe the shooting was accidental.

Authorities said the student who was shot was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Amina Bowman, 8, remains listed in critical condition Thursday morning, according to The Seattle Times.

The student involved in the shooting has been taken into custody and booked into Kitsap County Juvenile Detention Center with the charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, bringing a dangerous weapon onto school grounds and third-degree assault based upon the criminal negligence.

Investigators are working to determine how the student had possession of the weapon.

Tracy Harris is a mother of an Armin Jahr kindergartener, sister to one of the school's teachers and cousin to a second grader – all of whom were safe following the shooting. Knowing her own child was safe, she stood on the sidewalk outside the school waiting to see her sister.

"Knowing she is OK is not the same as seeing, feeling and touching," Harris said.

By 2:30 p.m., most of the students were cleared from the school grounds as parents arrived to take their children home. Several busses also took children home.

By then, police had taped off a classroom that had a sign declaring the school grounds to be a drug and weapons free zone. One investigator took away brown evidence bags.

Though much of the student body had gone home, most of the third graders were being held in classroom 2, some where eating frozen treats, only leaving randomly with parents

Harris got a call from her mother saying there had been a shooting at the school. She said her daughter understands what happened was bad, but the teachers have a way of making "the serious" into an understandable game, she said.

"I think it's going to be hard," Harris said of everyone's ability to rebound from the shooting. To keep feelings safe, she said her own daughter will only return to school when her aunt returns to teaching there.

While little was released Wednesday afternoon, students could be heard telling details to parents as they left the school grounds. One student reported to her mother that "a girl got shot in the stomach."

Another child, when asked by his mother if he got down when the shooting started, said, "I just ran immediately out [of the classroom]."

Tom Debord stood outside the school grounds with his wife, who has a cousin enrolled at the school. The 46-year Bremerton resident said all of the violence in town lately caused him to move to Silverdale and get a bar for his front door.

Bremerton School District Wednesday said that school will resume on Thursday morning with a full complement of grief counselors for students, staff and teachers. The grief counselors would be available throughout the next few days

In a statement from Bremerton School District Superintendent, Lester "Flip" Herndon, he said the district is working closely with the police department as they continue their investigation and will update families as information becomes available.

"This is a rare situation in our community and student safety and security is our main concern," Herndon said.

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