Teen Says He Was 'Just Lucky' With Shot That Saved Sister

He hit attacker with slingshot from 200 feet away
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2023 10:13 AM CDT
Teen Says He Was 'Just Lucky' With Shot That Saved Sister
Andrew Burns, left, Owen Burns, center, and Margaret Burns pose with a slingshot Owen used to thwart an alleged kidnapping attempt of his sister, on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in Alpena Township, Michigan. attack.   (Steve Schulwitz/The Alpena News via AP)

A 13-year-old boy in Michigan is being praised for his heroism—and his incredible aim. Owen Burns used his slingshot to fight off an attacker who was trying to drag his 8-year-old sister into the woods behind their Alpena Township home last week. He tells 9&10 News that he was "just lucky" with a shot that hit the suspect right between the eyes from 200 feet away. Owen says he was on his PlayStation 3 when he heard a scream from the backyard and saw the stranger with his hand over his sister's mouth. He grabbed his trusty slingshot and fired from the window, hitting the attacker in the head with a marble and in the chest with a stone. Owen says his sister broke free and ran into the house.

He says he went out and yelled at the attacker as he ran away. He says the plastic band on his slingshot broke as he attempted a third shot. "If I wasn’t out there and I didn’t hear her scream, then she was gone. Not here. I’ll probably not forgive myself for a thousand years until my death," he says. Owen tells the Washington Post that his mother bought him the slingshot for $3 years ago and he usually fires at old orange juice cans. Police said the 17-year-old suspect was found hiding at a gas station, and he had "obvious signs of an injury consistent with those that would have been sustained from the slingshot strikes to his head and chest." The teen faces charges including attempted kidnapping.

Michigan State Police Lt. John Grimshaw says Owen's "extraordinary" actions "saved his sister’s either life or from something seriously bad happening to her." The siblings' parents say they're trying to move forward from the incident and Owen's sister is "bouncing back." Mother Maggie Burns tells the Post that she was in shock for a few days afterward. She says she initially doubted Owen's account—until police told her about the suspect's injuries. "It just didn’t sound real, until there was proof," she says. "It sounds like something you would see in the movies." (More Michigan stories.)

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