$1.2 million settlement for victim of Bremerton school shooting
BREMERTON, Wash. -- The tragic shooting of third-grader Amina Bowman shocked parents across the region and her fight for survival touched all our hearts. Friday, nearly 2 1/2-years later, Amina and her family can move on after reaching a $1.2 million settlement with the Bremerton School District and the gun owner.
Amina's parents say no amount of money could restore what their daughter has lost but that it is time for them to move forward. They've moved out of state where Amina is already feeling more comfortable in a small-town environment, according to her mother Teri Bowman.
"In her new environment now, she's actually playing outside," she said.
Amina, now 11, is still incredibly shy, anxious, and doesn't talk to strangers. This isn't a day to celebrate; it's just a day to move forward, according to her father John Bowman.
"It's just been a roller coaster and just kind of glad that this is the end," he said.
Amina was shot Feb. 22, 2012 when another third grader brought a gun to school. The gun belonged to the boyfriend of the boy's mother. Last year, criminal charges were dismissed against the boy and last month the State Supreme Court ruled Douglas Bauer, the gun owner, also shouldn't face criminal charges.
The case is over for them, but attorney Jeffrey Campiche says Amina and her family will live with the results of the shooting forever.
"It's been a very difficult time for the Bowman family but they've obtained justice today and now they can move on."
Gun owner Bauer's insurance will pay $300,000 of the $1.2 million settlement, the Bremerton School District will pay the rest. In a brief written statement, the District said it's pleased a settlement was reached and that this "real life example demonstrates how important safety drills are so we are prepared to respond quickly when unpredictable events happen."
At the same time, the District doesn't believe it's liable as their attorney Andrew Biggs stated in court Friday while accepting the settlement: "The school district has always viewed this case as one in which there is no liability, and it still appears to be that way."
But attorney Campiche says the District didn't do enough to protect Amina and the money will give her opportunities the shooting took away.
"It'll also help her to adopt a child because she's going to need to have to do that if she wants children." Teri Bowman says they're just happy this is over.
"We were private people before that so we want to go back to being private people," she said.
Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge says he's still considering filing a misdemeanor criminal charge against the gun owner, but adds his options are limited.