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14-year-old who used slingshot to stop suspect from kidnapping his sister says he was "just lucky"

Teen boy uses slingshot to save 8-year-old sister from alleged kidnapper
Teen boy uses slingshot to save 8-year-old sister from alleged kidnapper 01:03

A 14-year-old boy who used a slingshot to stop a would-be kidnapper says he was "just lucky" he was able to stop the person trying to abduct his sister.

The incident occurred when the boy's 8-year-old sister decided to hunt for mushrooms in their backyard on May 10. A male suspect, later identified as a 17-year-old, came through the woods and grabbed the girl, who has not been identified.

Her brother, Owen Burns, said in an interview with local station WWTV/WWUP-TV that he saw it happen from a window and sprung into action.

Burns said he told his sister to be careful before she left and when he first heard her scream, he thought one of her friends arrived and they were "messing around." But then he heard another scream. "So I looked out the window and saw her being abducted by a person and I'm like freaking out," he said.

Slingshot Rescue
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. The 13-year-old who used a slingshot to save his 8-year-old sister from an attempted kidnapping on May 10 said he was "freaking out" and simply reached for something that could stop the attack. (Steve Schulwitz/The Alpena News via AP) Steve Schulwitz / AP

"I'm like, sort of cursing a lot because I didn't know what to do. So I grab my slingshot and open the window and I grab two things a marble and a gravel rock or something," he said. Burns ended up hitting the suspect in the head and chest – leaving marks, which later helped police officers identify him. 

"I was just lucky. He's just a big target because he's not like one Pepsi can," Burns said. He called his mom, who called police. 

A family member reported seeing a man that matched the suspect's description running away and state troopers searched until they found the suspect hiding. 

He has been charged as an adult with one count each of attempted kidnapping/child enticement, attempted assault to do great bodily harm less than murder, and one count of assault and battery. His bond was set at $150,000.

"You wouldn't think if you were playing in your own back yard or on your own property that you have to be concerned about something like this, but it just goes to show that there is evil out there," a representative for the Michigan State Police said, according to CBS Philadelphia. 

Owen was "really the one" to save her, the spokesperson said. "For a 14-year-old to see that and pop into action that quickly is extraordinary and he should be commended for it." 

"What he did also helped us identify who the suspect was because obviously [the suspect] had injuries from being hit with the slingshot and those were things that helped us evidentiary-wise identify who it was," the spokesperson said. 

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