Michigan Boy Who Used Slingshot to Save Sister Says He ‘Was Just Lucky’

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, Mich. The 13-year-old Michigan boy 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)

By Associated Press

May 19, 2023

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

“So I grab my slingshot and open the window and I grab two things — a marble and a gravel rock or something,” Owen Burns told WWTV/WWUP-TV in Cadillac in northern Michigan.

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

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

The attempted kidnapping occurred on May 10 outside the family’s home in Alpena Township. Owen’s sister was outside looking for mushrooms.

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

Owen heard a scream while playing video games but figured his sister was just “messing around” with friends. A second scream alarmed him.

“So I looked out the window and saw her being abducted by a person and I’m like freaking out,” Owen said.

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

State police 1st 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 happening to her.”

Owen said he had to act.

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

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