Published February 25, 2012
BREMERTON, Wash. – A Washington state prosecutor says his office will seek probation and treatment for a 9-year-old boy who took to school a gun that accidentally discharged and critically injured a classmate this past week.
Kitsap County prosecutor Russ Haugen told the Kitsap Sun Friday that "nobody is trying to lock this little boy up." He said prosecutors hope to hold the boy accountable not through incarceration, but rather probation, treatment and other services.
The third-grader faces charges of unlawful possession of a gun, bringing a dangerous weapon to school and third-degree assault. He is facing a capacity hearing in which a judge will determine if he knew what he did was wrong. If the judge decides the boy knew, the charges go forward.
An 8-year-old classmate -- Amina Kocer-Bowman -- was wounded. She is in a Seattle hospital in critical condition after undergoing surgeries.
Few additional details of the case have been released, though the investigation may include a look at how the boy got the .45-caliber pistol that went off in his backpack.
Hauge said his office is working with the investigative agencies involved in the shooting.
Police believe the boy got the gun during a weekend visit with his mother, Jamie Lee Chaffin.
According to court documents, Chaffin has been convicted of forgery and drug crimes. As a felon, her right to own a firearm was revoked. She completed court-ordered drug treatment, and no additional criminal charges were filed against her after 2007.
The boy's father, Jason Cochran, has been convicted of violating protection orders relating to Chaffin and has been taken to court for child support.
Both parents relinquished custody of the boy and his two sisters to his paternal grandmother. She died shortly after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2010, and the boy's uncle Patrick Cochran was granted custody.
The boy's family bailed him out of juvenile detention and took him to his uncle's home Thursday night. Bail had been set at $50,000. The boy will remain under house arrest and must check in daily with the county juvenile department.