It was a typical afternoon for Owen Burns, who had just returned from school. He was preparing to engage in his favorite pastime, playing “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” on his PlayStation 3, when he was suddenly disrupted by his sister’s screams from the yard.
At first, the 13-year-old boy dismissed her cries as playful antics and found himself annoyed by the interruption.
However, upon looking out of his window, Owen was taken aback by what he saw. Despite his initial shock, he was able to quickly gather his wits and make a decision that would prove to be life-saving.
Just moments later, Owen glanced out of his bedroom window and witnessed a distressing sight: an unfamiliar man was attempting to drag his 8-year-old sister towards the woods bordering their home. Filled with fear but determined to protect his sister, the quick-thinking teenager grabbed his slingshot and hurriedly found two objects to use as ammunition: a marble and a rock.
Owen then took aim at the stranger, his first shot hitting the man squarely between the eyes. The second shot struck him in the chest. Describing the situation to the media, Owen noted, “He was swearing. He was cussing,” indicating the impact his unexpected resistance had on the intruder.
The alarming incident occurred in broad daylight at the Burns’ home in Alpena Township, Michigan. Their mother, Maggie Burns, expressed shock as such kidnappings were virtually unheard of in their community.
Thankfully, at the end of this terrifying encounter, Owen’s young sister was safe, though understandably shaken by the experience. The attempted kidnapper, a 17-year-old male, was not publicly identified by the Michigan State Police. However, they confirmed that he would face charges as an adult for his actions.
Commenting on Owen’s brave response, Lt. John Grimshaw, at a news conference, lauded him as the one who, he believed, saved his sister’s life or at least from a potentially severe ordeal. He termed Owen’s actions as “extraordinary,” cementing the young teenager’s deed as nothing short of heroic.
He further emphasized that the young teen deserved recognition for his swift and effective response.
The slingshot that Owen used in this critical situation was nothing exceptional. His mother had purchased it on clearance for just $3. Owen had developed his skill and precision by often practicing on old orange juice cans in the yard.
Owen admitted that upon seeing the stranger attempting to abduct his sister, a horrifying thought crossed his mind. He feared that if the stranger succeeded, his sister could be forced into sexual slavery or even killed.
Grimshaw provided a chilling account of the abduction attempt. He detailed, “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.”
In the face of danger, Owen acted decisively, reaching for his slingshot and taking aim at the kidnapper. When his sister managed to escape from the kidnapper’s hold, she dashed into the house, distraught, telling Owen she had nearly been killed. Fired up, Owen rushed outside and shouted at the kidnapper. He threw a baseball at the intruder, which unfortunately missed its target. In a further attempt to hit the stranger with his slingshot, the rubber broke, rendering his third attempt unsuccessful.
Following this terrifying encounter, the siblings phoned their mother, who had stopped at a relative’s house on her way home from work. Over the phone, she could barely make sense of their distraught words, but upon hearing the word ‘kidnapper,’ she immediately hurried home to contact the police. Reflecting on the shocking incident, Maggie admitted, “I was in shock for a few days.”
The 17-year-old would-be kidnapper was subsequently located hiding at a nearby gas station. He was then apprehended and charged with attempted kidnapping, attempted felony assault, and misdemeanor assault and battery in the Alpena County District Court.
According to the police, the young man exhibited clear signs of injury consistent with having been struck by the slingshot. In a press release, they stated, “He had obvious signs of an injury consistent with those that would have been sustained from the slingshot strikes to his head and chest.” Owen’s courageous actions had not only saved his sister but also aided in the subsequent arrest and charges against the perpetrator.
Initially, Maggie expressed skepticism about her son’s account of hitting the kidnapper perfectly on his forehead and chest from a distance of 200 feet. However, the police corroborated Owen’s story, explaining that during their interview with the suspect, the marble-induced welt on his forehead continued to swell visibly.
In response to his mother’s initial doubts, Owen teased, “You said I always lie!” To which she responded, “I just couldn’t believe it. It just didn’t sound real, until there was proof. It sounds like something you would see in the movies.” Owen aptly replied, “Mom, stuff in the movies can and do happen in real life.” This exchange underlines the true heroism demonstrated by the young teenager.
This heartwarming story serves as a testament to the courage of a protective older brother stepping up to safeguard his little sister. Do share this story with your friends and family – it may inspire them with the heroism and courage exhibited in real-life situations.