On a typical afternoon after returning home from school, Owen Burns was startled by his sister’s piercing screams. Initially annoyed by the disturbance, he brushed off her cries for help, assuming it was nothing more than a minor inconvenience.
However, as he glanced out of his window, he was taken aback by what he witnessed. Despite the initial shock, Owen swiftly regained his composure and made a decision that would prove to be life-saving.
While Owen Burns was getting ready to immerse himself in his favorite game, “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” on his PlayStation 3, his peaceful gaming session was abruptly interrupted by his sister’s piercing screams echoing from their yard. At first, the 13-year-old assumed she was simply fooling around, and annoyance clouded his thoughts.
However, mere moments later, curiosity got the better of him, and he peered out of his bedroom window to investigate the commotion. To his horror, he witnessed a stranger attempting to drag his 8-year-old sister towards the nearby woods.
Fear gripped Owen, but his instinct to protect kicked in. Determined to thwart the kidnapper, he hastily grabbed his trusty slingshot, along with any available projectiles within reach—a marble and a rock. Taking aim, he focused his sights on the perpetrator and delivered a precise shot, striking him square between the eyes.
Undeterred, Owen unleashed a second shot, this time hitting the kidnapper in the chest. Recalling the intense moment, he later shared with the press, “He was swearing. He was cussing.”
“In the aftermath of the incident, the police returned to the scene, diligently searching for evidence. However, to their surprise, they discovered that what they initially believed to be the assailant’s discarded sweater turned out to be a mere shirt.”
Maggie Kay Burns, Owen’s mother, shared this unexpected twist on social media, recounting the dramatic turn of events that unfolded on that fateful day.
The incident took place in broad daylight at the Burns’ residence in Alpena Township, Michigan. Maggie Burns, their mother, expressed astonishment, as such kidnappings were unheard of in their area.
Fortunately, despite the distressing encounter, Owen’s 8-year-old sister emerged physically unharmed, although the emotional impact was likely significant. The kidnapper, identified as a 17-year-old whose name was withheld by the Michigan State Police, will face charges as an adult.
During a news conference, Lieutenant John Grimshaw acknowledged the exceptional nature of Owen’s actions, stating, “He really is the one that… I believe saved his sister’s either life or from something seriously bad happening to her.” He praised Owen’s extraordinary bravery and emphasized that the young boy deserved commendation for his remarkable efforts.
Indeed, this young boy’s courageous actions can only be described as heroic.
The slingshot used by the teenager was nothing extraordinary; it was a simple purchase made by his mother on clearance for a mere $3. In his free time, the teen would practice his aim by targeting old orange juice cans in the yard, which inadvertently honed his accuracy.
When the teenager first caught sight of the kidnapper attempting to abduct his sister, a chilling thought immediately crossed his mind—should the stranger succeed, his sister would likely be subjected to a life of unimaginable horrors as a sex slave or worse, lose her life.
Recalling the harrowing encounter, Lt. Grimshaw described how 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.”
Reacting swiftly, Owen instinctively reached for his trusty slingshot and took aim at the assailant. With a well-aimed shot, he managed to create enough distraction for his sister to break free from the kidnapper’s grip. In tears, she rushed inside their home, recounting to her brother the perilous near-death experience she had just endured.
Enraged by the audacity of the kidnapper, Owen stormed outside, spewing curses at the assailant. In his anger, he hurled a baseball towards the perpetrator, narrowly missing his target. Determined to defend his sister, Owen attempted to use his slingshot once again, only to face disappointment as the rubber band broke, rendering his third attempt futile.
The siblings immediately contacted their mother, who had stopped at a relative’s place to lend a hand on her way home from work. Upon hearing her children’s distressed and incoherent voices mentioning the word “kidnapper,” she swiftly made her way back home and dialed the emergency services.
“I was in a state of shock for a few days,” Maggie expressed, still overwhelmed by the events.
The 17-year-old kidnapper was eventually discovered hiding at a nearby gas station. Subsequently, he faced charges of attempted kidnapping, attempted felony assault, and misdemeanor assault and battery in Alpena County District Court.
The police released a statement affirming that the suspect displayed evident signs of injury consistent with the slingshot strikes to his head and chest.
Initially skeptical of her son’s account of accurately hitting the kidnapper’s forehead and chest from a distance of 200 feet, Maggie had her doubts. However, her skepticism was dispelled when the police confirmed the story, as the suspect’s forehead started swelling due to the impact of the marble.
“You always claim that I lie!” Owen exclaimed to his mother.
“I simply couldn’t believe it,” she responded. “It seemed too unbelievable, like something you would only encounter in movies.”
“Mom,” the teenager retorted, “things depicted in movies can and do occur in real life.” Indeed, this young man’s actions undeniably label him as a hero!