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Nine-year-old facing charges over US school shooting

Amina Kocer-Bowman, 8, remains in critical condition today after being shot in the abdomen yesterday.

A child hugs an adult near the entrance to the school in Bremerton after yesterday's shooting.
A child hugs an adult near the entrance to the school in Bremerton after yesterday's shooting.
Image: AP Photo/Ted S Warren/PA Images

A PROSECUTOR in Washington state is planning to file charges against a nine-year-old boy who was allegedly involved in the shooting of a classmate yesterday afternoon.

Amina Kocer-Bowman, 8, remains in critical condition today after being shot in the abdomen at a school in Bremerton yesterday minutes before the end of the school day.

A police spokesperson said earlier that it appeared that the gun had fired through the young boy’s bag. He also said that detectives believe the shooting was accidental. A gun was recovered from a bag at the scene.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that several pupils told the police that the boy had planned to run away and to bring a gun to school in order to protect himself when he ran away.

The boy has been taken into custody and is due in court for a preliminary hearing tomorrow. He was booked into Kitsap County juvenile detention yesterday and is under investigation for unlawful possession of a gun, bringing a dangerous weapon to school and third-degree assault.

Prosecutor Todd Dowell of Kistap County prosecutor’s juvenile division said that he hadn’t yet decided what specific charges would be brought against the boy. He added that, under state law, children aged between 8 and 12 can be charged if the court determines they have the capacity to understand an act is wrong.

A judge will decide at tomorrow’s hearing if bail should be set for the child.

Gonzaga University law professor Gail Hammer told the Associated Press that it is very rare for such a young child to be charged and that they are usually dealt with in the juvenile system.

Students and teachers returned to the school for classes today, the Seattle Times reports, and counsellors are on hand for the pupils and staff who need assistance. The paper reports that some of the children found it too difficult to return to the school so soon after the shooting.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Girl, 8, seriously injured in Washington school shooting >

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