Family of school shooting victim considers filing civil claim

SEATTLE -- The family of an 8-year-old girl seriously injured in a classroom shooting is considering filing a civil claim against "the responsible entities," the family's attorney said at a news conference on Thursday.

Jeffery M. Campiche, the attorney representing Amina Bowman's family, said his firm is investigating to determine who is at fault in the shooting that occurred at Armin Jahr Elementary School last month.

Amina, who was injured when a 45-caliber handgun inside a classmate's backpack went off, is listed in serious condition. She is recovering at Harborview Medical Center where she underwent five surgeries.

The attorney refused to identify the entities the firm planned to investigate. "But I'm sure you know," he added. "The story is very clear."

"Is there anything more dangerous to our children than firearms in school? No, I can't think of anything more dangerous," said Campiche.

The injured girl's father said he sees the incident as "a painful teaching point."

"No family should have to go through what we're going through right now," said John Bowman. "There are nights when I cry myself to sleep, wondering why this is happening to my daughter. But I have to be strong for her; I have to put on a strong face, because she can't be (strong)."

The father also thanked the community.

"The outpouring of community support ... it's just kind of overwhelming at times," he said.

The 9-year-old boy whose backpack contained the gun is facing weapon and assault charges. Prosecutors have said they plan to seek probation and treatment - not confinement - for him.

Authorities believe the boy came into possession of the weapon during a visitation with his mother the weekend before the shooting, according to charging documents. The documents state that the boy told a classmate about five days ago that he was going to bring his "dad's gun" to school and run away.

Kitsap County officials said both the child's mother and father have extensive criminal records. Bremerton police Lt. Peter Fisher would not discuss whether authorities were investigating any adults in connection with the shooting.

Patrick Cochran, the boy's uncle, said the boy's grandmother adopted him, but she died a year ago and he became the child's legal guardian. He said he lives with the boy's father, and his two sisters.