Boy's charges dropped in Bremerton school shooting

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. -- The 10-year-old boy who brought to school a gun that permanently injured his classmate will now get a fresh start.

A Kitsap County judge on Thursday dismissed the charges against the boy in the incident that occurred exactly one year ago from Friday.

That's when investigators said the boy brought a gun to Armin Jahr Elementary School in his backpack. The gun went off, hitting Amina Kocer-Bowman. The girl, who was 8 years old at the time, was critically wounded and spent several weeks in the hospital.

The victim and her parents were not present on court on Thursday. The family had no comment about the judge's decision.

The boy himself addressed the court before learning the judge's decision.

"I would say thank you to everyone for helping me and sorry, very sorry for Amina's family," he said.

The judge praised the boy for completing all the court's orders, including writing an apology letter to the shooting victim, attending counseling sessions, and even possibly testifying against his own mother and her boyfriend. It had been his mother's boyfriend's who had loaded gun the boy grabbed, hid in his backpack, and took to school, according to investigators.

"I'm very pleased to sign (the) order to dismiss charges," said Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Steve Dixon. "(I am) optimistic I won't see you back here."

The boy's cousin also spoke on his behalf in court.

"He's a good kid (who was) just in the wrong place, wrong time, and he's learning and doing a lot better. And I know he ain't going to get in any more trouble," said the boy's cousin.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Bowman family says Amina is still psychologically traumatized, and a bullet remains lodged near her spine. She is continuing her education at a private school.

The boy has applied to return to Kitsap County public schools, according to his attorney.

"I think that we did the best that we could possibly do for a 9-year-old boy. And he has expressed his sincere apology for what happened," said attorney Eric John Makus. "Life's not fair -- the world's not fair, But we do the best we can."

Both the boy's mother and her boyfriend have pleaded guilty to reduced charges related to this case, and both are awaiting sentencing.