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‘I was just lucky’: Gamer armed only with a slingshot, marble and rock saves ‘mushroom hunting’ 8-year-old sister from kidnapping attempt

Owen Burns

Owen Burns (Image via 9&10 News screengrab)

A 13-year-old Michigan boy armed only with a slingshot, a marble, and a rock is being hailed a hero after hitting a 17-year-old suspect in the head and stopping his 8-year-old sister from being kidnapped.

In a remarkable interview with 9 & 10 News, Owen Burns revealed that he was playing video games after school when he heard his “mushroom hunting” then 7-year-old sister let out a scream outside their home in Alpena Township.

“So I looked out the window and saw her being abducted by a person and I’m like freaking out,” the boy said. Rather than hesitating or giving in to fear, Owen grabbed his slingshot and opened fire, hitting an unidentified 17-year-old male in the head and chest — enabling his sibling to escape.

“On the afternoon of May 10, 2023, an eight-year-old girl was mushroom hunting in her backyard when an unknown male appeared from the woods. The male subject held the victim’s mouth shut before a struggle ensued, and the girl was able to break free. The victim’s 13-year-old brother witnessed the assault occurring in the backyard and shot the suspect with his slingshot in the head and chest,” according to the Michigan State Police account of what took place.

The suspect allegedly tried to run away and hide out at a gas station, but troopers found him with “obvious” slingshot projectile wounds, state cops said.

Owen said he was stunned by the whole ordeal because “nothing bad happens” where he lives. Then, said the boy, “boom, something happens.”

“If I wasn’t out there and I didn’t hear her scream, then she was gone,” the hero teen said.

More Law&Crime coverage: Store owner recognizes and saves abducted little girl at shopping center after closely watching ‘Unsolved Mysteries’

Perhaps as impressive as Owen’s bravery under such serious circumstances was his humility in the face of universal praise. He attributed the slingshot headshot to luck.

“I was just lucky. He’s just a big target because he’s not like one Pepsi can,” he said.

Owen’s mom Margaret said that thanks to her son her daughter lived to see her 8th birthday, which was the Saturday following the Wednesday afternoon incident. The mother described her daughter as “okay” and “bouncing back,” but wanting to “forget” what happened.

Authorities said that 17-year-old suspect is being charged as an adult and faces numerous charges, including attempted kidnapping/child enticement. The defendant is also accused of attempted assault to great bodily harm less than murder, and assault and battery. He was booked in Alpena County with a $150,000 bond, state police said.

Watch the extended (but non-embeddable) 9 & 10 News interview of Owen here or watch WDIV’s version of the story below:

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.