It was an ordinary afternoon back home from school when Owen Burns heard his sister screaming. He was annoyed at the intrusion her screaming brought, thinking nothing sinister of her squeals for help.
But when he looked out his window, he was shocked but recovered quickly enough to make a life-saving decision.
Owen Burns was settling in to play his favorite game “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” on his PlayStation 3 when he heard his sister screaming from their yard. The 13-year-old thought she was goofing around and became annoyed.
Moments later the teenager looked out his bedroom window to see a stranger trying to drag his 8-year-old sister to the woods edging their home.
The panicked teenager grabbed his slingshot and got his hands on any immediate ammunition he could find; a marble and a rock. He directly aimed at the kidnapper and hit him squarely between the eyes.
The second time, he hit him in the chest. “He was swearing. He was cussing,” Owen told the press.
The encounter happened at the Burns’ home in Alpena Township in Michigan in broad daylight. Their mother Maggie Burns noted that kidnappings were unheard of in the area.
At the end of the encounter, his 8-year-old sister was safe albeit probably traumatized from the incident. The kidnapper was a 17-year-old that the Michigan State Police did not identify but have confirmed will be charged as an adult.
“He really is the one that … I believe saved his sister’s either life or from something seriously bad happening to her,” Lt. John Grimshaw said at a news conference, calling Owen’s actions “extraordinary.” This young boy’s actions were nothing short of heroic!
He added that the young man should be commended for his efforts.
The slingshot the teenager used was nothing out of the ordinary. His mother bought it on clearance for $3. The teen would at times go out to his yard and target practice on old orange juice cans which apparently perfected his aim.
The teenager said when he first saw a kidnapper attempting to abduct his sister one thought immediately crossed his mind; the stranger if successful in his attempt would likely either make his sister a sex slave or kill her.
Grimshaw recounted the encounter saying the kidnapper, “came from behind her, grabbed her like you see in the movies — hand over the mouth, arm around the waist — and was attempting to pull her into the woods.”
That is when Owen reached for his slingshot and fired at him. When his sister freed himself from the kidnapper’s grasp, she ran inside the home crying telling her brother she was almost killed. An enraged Owen ran outside cursing at the kidnapper. He hurled a baseball at him which missed. He then attempted to hit him with his slingshot again but the rubber broke and made his third attempt futile.
The siblings then called their mother who had stopped at a relative’s place to help out while she had been on her way home from work. When she heard her incoherent and upset children on the phone, she made out the word ‘kidnapper’ and rushed home to call the police.
“I was in shock for a few days,” Maggie said.
The 17-year-old kidnapper was found hiding at a nearby gas station. He was then charged with attempted kidnapping, attempted felony assault, and misdemeanor assault and battery in Alpena County District Court.
“He had obvious signs of an injury consistent with those that would have been sustained from the slingshot strikes to his head and chest,” police said in a press release.
Maggie said she was dubious of his son’s story about hitting the kidnapper from 200 feet away perfectly on his forehead and chest. But the police confirmed the story saying when they were interviewing the suspect, the marble-induced goose egg on his forehead kept growing.
“You said I always lie!” Owen said to his mother.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” she replied. “It just didn’t sound real, until there was proof. It sounds like something you would see in the movies.”
“Mom,” the teenager said, “stuff in the movies can and do happen in real life.” Clearly this young man is a hero!
This is such a wonderful story that shows the heroic efforts of a big brother protecting his little sister. Share this story with your friends and family to inspire them as well.