School gunshot victim receives $1.2 million settlement

The family of Amina Kocer-Bowman, who was shot Feb. 22, 2012, at Armin Jahr Elementary School, received a $1.2 million settlement today from the Bremerton School District and the owner of the gun that discharged and critically wounded the girl in 2012.

The school district will pay the family $900,000 and Doug Bauer, who owned the H&K .45-caliber handgun that discharged inside a boy's backpack and wounded Amina, will pay $300,000. Amina's classmate, whose mother was dating Bauer at the time, took the gun from Bauer's Allyn home and brought it to the school.

The district released a statement shortly after the settlement was approved.

"The district is very pleased that a settlement has been reached in this case," the district's statement said. "We look forward to moving ahead for the families and staff involved. We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to the family and Amina for her continued recovery."

Amina was eight years old at the time of the shooting. Her elbow was shattered, she suffered damage to her internal organs and the bullet lodged near her spine. Amina underwent several surgeries and spent eight weeks at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

The family has re-settled into a new life in Montana where Amina is slowly growing in her confidence and regularly seeks counseling. She regularly fights anxiety, said the family's attorney, Jeffrey Campiche.

But Amina is recovering emotionally with the help of her family's support, Campiche addded.

"Physically she's left with some significant problems, but she seems to be a very strong and brave child and she's working very hard at overcoming this," he said.

For the first time since the shooting, Amina went outside to play with friends last week. Those little steps are what the family is most looking forward to in the upcoming years now that the settlement is behind them, said Campiche. He says the family also feels that they were successful in demonstrating to the district that the level of safety they provide for students is as important as the quality of education being offered.

"They feel some closure in the event," Campiche said. "They have very strongly supported that child. They're making a successful recovery."

The settlement will go toward any future needs of Amina's, including education and medical expenses, said her father, John Bowman.

"Everything's still sinking in two and a half years later," he said. "We're moving on and getting ready to move on with the next chapter for Amina and her story."

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