13-year-old from Michigan who used a slingshot to save his sister says he ‘just got lucky’

ALPENA TOWNSHIP, Michigan – 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 just looking for something that could stop the attack.

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

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

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

Owen Burns shows off the slingshot he used to save his sister as his mother, Margaret Burns, looks on in Alpena, Michigan, May 17, 2023.
Owen Burns demonstrates the slingshot he used to save his sister while his mother, Margaret Burns, looks on, in Alpena, Michigan, Wednesday.WPBN

The attempted kidnapping took place on May 10 in front of the family home in the canton of Alpena. Owen’s sister was out looking for mushrooms.

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

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Owen heard a scream while playing video games, but he figured his sister was “having fun” with friends. A second cry alarmed him.

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

It was then that he grabbed his sling. Police grabbed the suspect and said he had visible injuries. The teenager 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 bad from happening to her”.

Owen said he had to act.

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

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