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A 13-year-old Michigan boy who used a slingshot to save his sister says he was ‘lucky’


May 19, 2023

ALPENA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A 13-year-old Michigan boy who used a slingshot to save his 8-year-old sister from an attempted kidnapping said he was “crazy” and simply reached for something that might stop the attack.

«So I take my slingshot, I open the window and I take two things: a marble and a rock of gravel or something,» Owen Burns told WWTV/WWUP-TV in Cadillac, northern Michigan.

Police said Owen struck the 17-year-old attacker in the head and chest, and his sister was able to escape.

«I was lucky. It’s just a great target because it’s not like a can of Pepsi,» Owen said.

Owen Burns demonstrates the slingshot he used to save his sister as his mother, Margaret Burns, looks on in Alpena, Michigan, on Wednesday.wpbn

The kidnapping attempt occurred on May 10 in front of the family’s home in the municipality of Alpena. Owen’s sister was out looking for mushrooms.

“I say, ‘Okay, be careful.’ … And then, boom, something happens,” she recalled.

Owen heard a scream while playing video games, but thought his sister was just «playing» with her friends. A second scream alarmed him.

«So I looked out the window and I saw her being kidnapped by a person and I freaked out,» Owen said.

That’s when he grabbed his slingshot. Police apprehended the suspect and said he had visible injuries. The teenager has been charged with attempted kidnapping and other crimes.

State Police First Lt. John Grimshaw said Owen’s actions were «extraordinary.»

He said the boy saved his sister’s life or at least prevented «something seriously bad from happening to her.»

Owen said he had to act.

«If I wasn’t out there and I didn’t hear her scream, then she would have left,» he said.