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Michigan teen who used slingshot to protect sister ‘grabbed anything’ to fend off kidnapper

Owen Burns: 'It just felt like I was scared, and I had like something to do, cause if I didn’t (grab) it, she would’ve been taken away or more worse'
Owen Burns pulls back the slingshot he used to ward off a kidnapper from his 8-year-old sister
Posted at 8:14 PM, May 19, 2023

A Michigan teen who used a slingshot toward off a kidnapper from his sister told CNN he “grabbed anything I could get” to save her.

“It just felt like I was scared, and I had like something to do, cause if I didn’t (grab) it, she would’ve been taken away or more worse,” Owen Burns, 13, told CNN Wednesday.

His 8-year-old sister was “mushroom hunting” in the backyard of her Alpena Township home when a man emerged from the woods connected to the backyard, grabbed her, and placed his hand over her mouth in an attempt to pull her into the woods, Michigan State Police Sgt. Shane Smith told CNN Saturday.

Owen spotted the attack from inside his home and used his slingshot to hit the attempted kidnapper twice.

“I had to grab a rock in there, and a marble right next to it, so I grabbed it, I put it in here and I just shoot it,” Owen said.

Owen Burns
A Michigan teen who used a slingshot to ward off a kidnapper from his 8-year-old sister told CNN he "grabbed anything I could get" in order to save her. Owen burns is pictured here with his parents, Andrew and Margaret Burns.

The kidnapper reeled from being struck with the slingshot, allowing the young girl to wrangle her way out from his grasp and run back inside her home, police said. The kidnapper then fled into the woods, taking a well-used trail used by the community, police said. Police later took the suspect – who is 17 – into custody after he was spotted in the parking lot of a Big Lots store.

Owen old CNN his sister is “fine, she’s just a little startled, a little bit still.”

Owen’s mother, Margaret Burns, said she only found out about the incident when she received a call after work, calling her son “very brave.”

Andrew Burns, Owen’s father, said his son shot his Nerf gun and BB gun as a kid, praising Owen: “He’s a good shot, he always has been,” he said.

Owen said he got his first slingshot when he was “probably seven or eight.”

Owen said the community in Alpena has been showing support for him.

“I get a bunch of money for no reason. I’m grateful for all of that but you don’t have to give me all that stuff for no reason,” he said, adding, “I know I did something right, but it’s just me.”

The alleged kidnapper has been arrested and charged with one count of attempted kidnapping and child enticement, one count of attempted assault, and one count of assault and battery, according to police.