— Her 9-year-old daughter Amina nearly died after she was accidentally shot by a classmate, but Teri Bowman said that she refused to accept the possibility that she would lose her child.
"That was something I didn't want to think about," Bowman told NBC's Miguel Almaguer in a report that aired on TODAY Friday. "I was like, 'She's gonna get through this; I know she is.' And I told her: 'You're a Bowman. And we do never, never ever quit.' "
The worst may be over for little Amina Kocer-Bowman. Following her Feb. 22 shooting in Bremerton, Wash., she endured six surgeries. The bullet shattered her elbow, passed into her abdomen, and then penetrated her liver, pancreas and intestines. It finally lodged in her spine, but Teri and Amina's father, John, are grateful that it doesn't appear to have affected her movements, and that their daughter is now on the mend.
Home front horror
Amina was sitting in her third-grade classroom when a loaded .45-caliber pistol brought to school by a classmate accidentally discharged in the boy's backpack. Authorities say the boy who brought the gun to school took the weapon from the home of his mother and her boyfriend.
Jamie Lee Chaffin and Douglas L. Bauer have both been charged with third-degree assault; prosecutors say the pair should be held accountable for the boy gaining access to the gun that shot Amina. The boy, who is scheduled to testify against Chaffin and Bauer, was ordered to undergo 48 hours of counseling and be under state supervision for one year.
At the time of the shooting, Amina was proudly wearing her dad's dog tags. A Navy veteran who served in Iraq, John Bowman told NBC's Almaguer he's seen the horrors of war, but never believed he would face a shooting tragedy in his own backyard.
"I've seen some stuff out there, you know?" he said. "That never prepared me for seeing my daughter laying there, just so helpless. And it hurt."
Following her touch-and-go surgeries at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, the Bowmans told Amina what had happened to her. Lying in her hospital bed, the child told Almaguer: "I feel shocked."
Now, a month after the shooting, she is out of the woods, but still faces a long recuperation. "I think she's looking at several months of problems with this intestine," her doctor, Eileen Bulger, said, adding that Amina came "extremely close" to dying.
"Eventually, she should get back to a relatively normal life. But it's going to take a long period of time."
When she does recover, Amina wants to get back on the basketball court and, when she grows up, follow in her dad's footsteps and join the military.
Allowing herself to cry, Teri Bowman told Almaguer, "We're so happy that she's still here."