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Originally published Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 12:40 PM

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Wash. boy who brought gun to school due in court

A prosecutor is preparing to file charges against a 9-year-old boy who brought a gun to a Washington state elementary school that went off and critically wounded a young classmate.

Associated Press

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SEATTLE —

A prosecutor is preparing to file charges against a 9-year-old boy who brought a gun to a Washington state elementary school that went off and critically wounded a young classmate.

Todd Dowell of the Kitsap county prosecutor's juvenile division said his office is still going through police reports. He hasn't determined what the exact charges might be, he said.

The boy is due in court for a preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. Thursday - 24 hours after emergency crews responded to the school shooting. At the hearing, Dowell said, a judge will determine whether bail will be set and a motion for a capacity hearing will be filed.

Dowell said under state law children between 8 and 12 years old can face charges if a court determines the child has the capacity to understand an act is wrong.

"There will be some charges. We're still putting the paper work together on that," Dowell said.

The boy's classmate, eight-year-old Amina Kocer-Bowman, remained in critical condition Thursday after undergoing surgery for a gunshot wound, said Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Leila Gray.

Authorities say the boy brought a gun to Armin Jahr Elementary, where it discharged from his backpack, piercing through and hitting Kocer-Bowman in the abdomen. On Wednesday, Bremerton police characterized the shooting as accidental.

Twenty-seven states have some form of firearm child access prevention laws. Such laws can include criminal penalties for adults who allow children to get their hands on guns, but Washington is not one of those states, according to the San Francisco-based Legal Community Against Violence.

The boy was taken into custody Wednesday after being booked into Kitsap County juvenile detention for investigation of unlawful possession of a gun, bringing a dangerous weapon to school and third-degree assault.

The gun was recovered from a classroom. Police did not immediately describe it.

Gail Hammer, a law professor at Gonzaga University in Spokane, said it is very rare for a child as young as 9 to be charged with a crime. Even if a young child is convicted, they wouldn't be sent to an adult prison, Hammer said

"Generally with young children they try to deal with it in the juvenile system," she said.

There have been shootings at schools that involved younger children. In 2000, 6-year-old Kayla Rolland, a Michigan first-grader, was fatally shot by a 6-year-old classmate who brought a gun from home. Last year, a 6-year-old kindergartner at a Houston elementary school accidentally fired a gun as he was showing it off to friends, injuring three students.

Bremerton Schools spokeswoman Patty Glaser said the school where Wednesday's shooting happened, with about 400 students, was open for classes Thursday with 10 counselors available to talk with teachers, students and parents.

She said the classroom where the shooting happened remains closed and that the students from that classroom have been moved.

The school is in a quiet residential neighborhood about 20 miles west of Seattle, across Puget Sound.

In the latest rating by the Brady Campaign, a national gun control advocacy group, Washington scored no points in the child safety category.

"Washington state is a loosely regulated state when it comes to firearms," said Gregory Roberts, executive director of Washington Cease Fire, a Brady Campaign affiliate.

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Associated Press photographer Ted Warren in Bremerton contributed to this report.

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