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Doctors say 8-year-old Bremerton girl will live

Doctors say the 8-year-old girl shot by a classmate at a
Bremerton
elementary school came very close to death, but is
expected to live
through the ordeal.

Amina Kocer-Bowman was critically wounded in the Feb. 22
shooting at Armin
Jahr Elementary, where a 9-year-old student brought a .45-
caliber
handgun to school in his backpack.

Police say the weapon accidentally discharged, sending a
single bullet
through Amina’s right arm and into her side. From there,
the projectile
passed through her liver, gallbladder, and small
intestine, before
severing her inferior vena cava, the large vein that
drains blood from the
legs.

“That vein was completely transected by the bullet, and so
that’s why
she was bleeding to death really, from that injury,” said
Dr. Eileen
Bulger, director of emergency services at Harborview
Medical Center.
“She came very close to death with this injury, with the
amount of
bleeding that she had. In the first 24 hours it was very
touch and go.”

Bulger told reporters at Harborview Tuesday that Amina
received 30
units of blood during her first day in their care. Doctors
decided not to
remove the bullet, which came to rest in muscle next to
the spine,
because such a surgery would be too dangerous.

“It’s been a rocky time for her, she’s been in the ICU,
she just got off the
ventilator over the weekend, which was a huge step
forward,” Bulger
said.

Amina has undergone five surgeries, but is expected to be
taken out of
the intensive care unit as early as Wednesday, according
to a hospital
spokesperson. Although she is alert and awake, her father
told reporters
she has not asked what happened to her.

“First thing she asked – she didn’t ask what happened –
she asked for
water,” said John Bowman as he sat next to his daughter’s
bedside.

Bowman said when he first heard his daughter had been shot
it was,
“every parent’s worst fear.”

“We take everything day by day,” he said. “We just listen
to what the
medical team has to tell us.”

Meanwhile, prosecutors have filed an assault charge
against the mother
of the 9-year-old boy who brought the firearm to school.

Jamie Lee Chaffin and her boyfriend, Douglas L. Bauer,
face charges
of third-degree assault in the shooting. Prosecutors
allege the couple’s
negligence allowed the boy to obtain a loaded firearm from
their home.
Both Chaffin and Bauer also face charges of unlawful
possession of a
firearm.

“The prosecutor’s office believes they can prove that the
mother and the
boyfriend were criminally irresponsible and that lead to
serious harm to
Amina Bowman,” said Jeffrey Campiche, attorney for the
Bowman
family. “The family is pleased that prosecutors have
focused their efforts
on the adults responsible for Amina being gunned down in
the
classroom.”

The boy has pleaded guilty in juvenile court to unlawful
possession of a
firearm, bringing a weapon to school and reckless
endangerment. In
exchange for the guilty plea, he will was given probation
and asked to
testify against his mother and her boyfriend.

If found guilty of third-degree assault, both Chaffin and
Bauer could
face up to five years in prison. They are expected to make
an initial
appearance in Kitsap County District Court on Thursday.

A fund has been set up to help Amina and her family
cover medical
expenses. Those wishing to donate can do so at any Bank of
America
branch, care of the “Amina Bowman Victims Trust.”

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