BREMERTON, Wash. -- A third-grade student was in critical condition at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center after being shot in the abdomen Wednesday at a Bremerton elementary school.
According to Bremerton police, an 8-year-old girl was shot by another third-grade student at Armin Jahr Elementary School just before school let out. A boy has been detained by police as a suspect.
The girl has been identified as Amina Bowman. Her grandmother, Cindy Kocer, told local news station KING-TV that her family expects Amina to be OK but is asking the community for prayers.
Bremerton police Lt. Peter Fisher wouldn't release information about the alleged shooter or the victim. He also didn't address whether police believe the shooting was intentional or accidental.
"We're very early on in our investigation," Fisher said. "We're in the process of processing evidence and conducting interviews."
Bremerton police and emergency crews were dispatched to the school Wednesday afternoon in response to a call that a student had been shot by another student. Authorities said a firearm was found in a classroom.
The Bremerton Schools superintendent's office said the school was locked down after the shooting, but the lockdown was lifted a short while later.
Live TV news footage showed students leaving the school. Police say parents were being allowed to pick up their kids on foot. Children were shown being escorted out of the building about a half-hour after the shooting.
The school has about 400 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
A helicopter landed at Bremerton's Harrison Hospital after the shooting and airlifted Amina to Harborview.
The girl was in critical condition and underwent surgery Wednesday afternoon, said Susan Gregg, spokeswoman for Harborview Medical Center. She arrived at the hospital at 3 p.m. and was in surgery less than five minutes later, Gregg said.
Gregg declined to say how many gunshots the girl suffered or where she was wounded.
Taylor Sumpter, 19, who has lived across the street from the school all his life, did not hear gunfire but looked outside Wednesday afternoon and saw a sheriff's deputy's car parked on his lawn.
"I went outside and I saw a whole bunch of cop cars swarming around the school and swarming the neighborhood." He saw a couple of helicopters, one with a news crew and the other coming to evacuate the wounded student.
"I didn't stay out there long," he said. "I have a young cousin here, and I wanted to make sure he was safe."
The school will reopen Thursday, said Linda Jenkins, the district's assistant superintendent. Counselors will be on hand, and substitute teachers will also be available to assist any teachers who need help, she said.
Bremerton School Board member Dave Boynton called the shooting a "rare, isolated incident."
Boynton said the school board would review safety procedures after seeing the results of the police investigation.
"Right now our concern is with the child and how the child's doing," he said. "Obviously, this is a tragedy."
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The shooting is the first at a Washington school since February 2010, when 30-year-old Jed Waits, of Ellensburg, fatally shot Jennifer Paulson, a special-education teacher at Birney Elementary School in Tacoma. Waits later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The last shooting involving a student was in January 2007 when Douglas Chanthabouly fatally shot fellow student Samnang Kok in a hallway before the start of classes at Tacoma's Foss High School. Chanthabouly's lawyers said he had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and thought Kok was a member of a street gang out to hurt him and his brother.
Chanthabouly was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to more than 23 years in prison.
In October, Snohomish High School freshmen April Lutz and Bekah Staudacher were stabbed in a school restroom, allegedly by another student.
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