8th Grade Student Shot While Walking Home from St. Francis School Monday

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An 8th grade female student of Burien’s St. Francis of Assisi School was shot while walking home from school in the 16600 block of 21st Ave SW (map below) Monday afternoon, March 18.

The student, who was struck in the side with either a pellet or small caliber bullet, was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and is in stable condition.

According to Sgt. Cindi West of the King County Sheriff’s Office:

About 3:45 p.m. we responded to the 16600 block of 21st Ave SW in Burien.

A 14 year old girl was walking home with at least 1 other student.

They heard a pop and she had been shot in the side with either a pellet or possibly a small caliber bullet.

The pellet lodged near her stomach.

She was initially taken to Highline Hospital and transferred to Harborview. She is in good condition.

The kids reported a red car in the area but we have not been able to confirm that the shot came from the car.

Here’s a letter that was sent out to parents from St. Francis Principal Rosemary Leifer:

Dear Families,

Today one of our eighth graders was shot as she and two other students walked home from school. The police reported that an object (a bullet or a pellet) entered the side of her torso. The officer said she was calm and able to talk about what happened. She is in stable condition and on her way to Harborview so that the object can be removed.

I talked with the girl’s mom and she wanted to make sure that parents knew what happened as soon as possible. The shooting was entirely random. It happened on 21st Ave SW about ten blocks from school near the student’s home. The boys who were with her said that the shot came from the passenger side of a red car. The police are investigating the incident.

Until we know more I would encourage you to drive or arrange for your children to be driven to and from school. Please drop-off and pick-up your children in the carpool area. Please do not have your children meet you in front of or across from the school at the minimart on 21st Ave SW. They should stay on the playground.

Thank you for your help with this. We all want to keep our children safe. I know that your prayers go out with mine for the victim and her family.

Peace and blessings,
Rosemary Leifer

As we learn more details about this incident, we’ll update this post, so check back…

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48 Responses to “8th Grade Student Shot While Walking Home from St. Francis School Monday”
  1. Kari B. says:

    I am so sick of stories like this around Burien. 🙁 Prayers and love to this girl, her family and friends..

  2. Ghost of Maplewild says:

    I heard recently that a Sylvester student was shot on 160th a few weeks ago. Never did hear about it in the news however.

    • K.C. says:

      Yes… several Sylvester students were shot at with a pellet gun. Two of them sustained injuries. The perpetrators then jumped into a car and chased the students down to shoot at them again. I didn’t see it in the news either.

  3. English, J says:

    Burien has become the new White Center.

    • Chris says:

      Burien is not becoming the “new White Center” as you put it. The student may have been hit with a pellet or BB or something like that (just as the kid near Sylvester). It has not been confirmed yet whether it was a real bullet or pellet.

      Making wild statements like yours does nothing to help the situation, especially in light of the fact that it’s simply not true.

      Fast healing to the girl!

      • Theresa says:

        Chirs, does it matter if she was hit by a pellet, BB, or bullet? You’re missing the point. And if you don’t think our community is being plagued by the same issues as White Center, you’re either ignorant, or ill informed.

        • John says:

          Petty to heavier crimes have been on the upswing for a few years now. Robberies, gunshots, thefts you name it. It is happening, it is increasing, and ignoring it or putting a head in the hole will not make it go away. The fact is someone got hurt simply for walking on the street. If this isn’t something that needs to be cleaned up in OUR City then what is? City Council what are you doing about this? It’s your management of this city that has befallen on you and the results are not pretty..Go figure.

      • Do What? says:

        I realize we mustn’t overreact and put all of tour houses on the market Chris, but I have a huge problem with your statements tone. ” The student may have been hit with a BB or something like that (just like the kid near Sylvester)” . Really- is the shell casing the only determinate factor in whether this would be acceptable? Any violent actions in our community; especially against our youth, is a HUGE problem for me. Whether we are living in “White Center”, Burien, Normandy Park or any other community we should have absolutely NO tolerance for violence and spreading fear. This was not ok! Whatever idiot coward did this needs to be dealt with emotionally, psychiatrically and legally. He or She endangered another person. A bullet, no matter what the caliber, is lodged in this poor girls torso. She did not deserve this and her family, friends, classmates and teachers are feeling the sickening reality of how horrible some people can be. It stems perhaps from the obvious lack of regard that is the root of violence… Ignorance. Ignorant people who underestimate the damage of inflicting hurt on another- even with pellet or BB guns! I am sure both victims have a different view of the magnitude of the situatuion even if it was just a BB or Pellet gun. This will forever change this girl and her family and a community. I hope this charges our community with the desire to reach out and make a change for the better. Let us not be OK with this because it wasn’t fatal. Let us be thankful and prayerful for this young woman and her family. I am praying for her and our community…..that we not let this become acceptable in our hometown!

        • Chris says:

          Ok, let me clarify what I initially said. First, it’s terrible the girls was shot. And by shot, we now know for certain that she was shot with a .22 caliber short round. The bullet evidently was left in her, as doing surgery may have caused more harm. That sucks for her, as it’s a reminder of what happened. I’m glad she is ok and did not suffer any major injuries. The mental scar may take a while to recover from. I continue to pray for her and her family.

          I grew up near where she was shot, and I’m still shocked that it happened there, and at the randomness of the act.

          Regarding the shooting itself, I maintain that there is indeed a difference in what someone was shot with. Some idiot (or idiots) fooling around taking shots at people with a BB gun is one thing. And using a pellet gun raises the ante even more (as a pellet gun can seriously injure someone). But the level of intent of someone using a pellet gun could range from a “prank” type motive, to someone actually setting out to cause serious harm. Now, when you then use a real firearm-no matter what the calliber is–you have now ventured into a whole new realm. You intend to inflict serious bodily harm on someone. The level of intent IS different in that case.

          We likely will never know the motive. Hopefully someone will talk and the cops get some leads. As of now, I have heard they have none.

          Regarding blanket statements about which area has more (or increasing) crime, and other sorts of hyperbole, I will submit to you that data and facts should be the true determiner. As I mentioned in another post, my mission is to fact-find a bit more and see for myself what the crime stats show.

          Perception is one thing, and anecdotal evidence is another, but hard facts and data is what imformed citizens need to know. I grow tired of people immediatlely politicizing an issue, and then trying to place blame on someone, some group, something, without first gathering all the facts.

          Lastly, the most important thing is that the young woman is OK. I hope she can get back on track and put this behind her. The incident (for us) is another reminder to be vigilant in and around our neighborhoods, and to be aware of suspicious behavior and other types of criminal or potential criminal acts/behavior. Stay engaged with your neighbors and keep open lines of communication, so that information can be shared.

      • Mary says:

        Being in denial does not help either Chris!

        • Jennifer says:

          I think the point Chris is trying to make is that it is not because we are next to White Center that this has happened. We have always been next to White Center and interestingly bad things can and do happen in all sorts of neighborhoods. Speedy recovery to the young lady.

      • Mike says:

        Chris, as a fireman/public servant, I would think you might have more compassion but instead you are more concerned about the reputation of Burien. The little girl was shot with a bullet and could have been killed. It seems you have already forgotten about all the break- ins in your own little Seahurst neighborhood. This is just one more reminder that we can’ t just close our eyes and pretend it will all go away as the city manager does. You might choose your words a little more carefully next time before you offend so many.

  4. Stady says:

    I am so sick of the things that keep happening in Burien. This is so sad and unfortunate. My son walks to his bus stop which is right next to my house and he is 12 years old. This is so not ok. People are so ignorant and the crime rate is increasing in Burien. There are so many meth heads and druggies running the streets its disgusting.

  5. jimmy says:

    hmm i feel sorry for this girl hopfully this was just a accdent someone shotting that did not have enough a of backing for a pellet gun or bb gun if it was a bullet the people around would have herd a louad pop simalr to a firecracker if it was a bb or pellet gun it would have more of a wooshing air sound with little bit of a pop its very easy to tell the two a part bb and pellet guns can be fun as long as their use safely but its sound like someone is not using one the right way its a shame to see this around here hopfully this person or persons that did this will be caught and taught a lesson i remember being a kid and being dumb enough to try shoot at friend’s foot or rear end with a bb gun i lern very quickly not do that its not fun and can be dangrous depening on the power of the gun even if its a bb or pellet it can still do some damage if you hit the wrong spot and with the power of the newer air guns they can be really dangrous if not use the right way the only people that should ever be shot with one these is ether someone breaking in your house or a mail theif other than that stick to paper targets pop cans or small pests

    • Marc says:

      My god jimmy, you make this so cavalier.
      BB guns can kill, blind or arm seriously people.
      We have a kid in hospital right now.

      BB guns should be illegal like any guns.

      • A Student says:

        this is a tragic event and this should never had happen to anyone. But any form of gun does not shoot all by its self. out-lawing guns will not stop criminals, criminals break the law.

        My heart goes out to the girl and her friends and family. Keep strong, love and prayers are being sent your way.

        • Norma says:

          I’m a member of “Americans for a Responsible Solution” founded by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly, both gun owners. We don’t want to take all guns away. We just want them to be better regulated. They should be treated with respect because their purpose aside from target shooting is to kill. We regulate other dangerous things like cars so why not guns.
          We really need to care more about the safety of our children. The young woman may have been calm after the incident but I’m sure she and her parents won’t feel as safe any more. My prayers for healing go out to them and the Burien community.

  6. Rob Halpin says:

    Thanks for reporting this.

    Would it be possible to get more information on the incident?

    If we could, we might be able to aid in the investigation, as a lot of us in the neighbourhood have security cameras pointed at the road. Some of us might have caught something that would be of help to the police investigation.

    Details such as the time of the incident and the direction the red car was headed would be of great help when reviewing the video footage.

  7. Sarah says:

    I was driving home from work when the kids got out of school one day last week and thought to myself how nice it is that these small children can walk to their homes safely after school every day. I went to St. Francis and truly appreciate the sense of community that I still feel around that place. Everyone knows everyone and looks out for everyone. This is really sad to hear about so close to home.
    Thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family.

  8. Stephanie says:

    I find it entirely sad that you guys think Burien is somehow exempt from the violence that happens in White Center. I have lived in WC for 21 years, attended high school in Burien, and I can honestly say one is NOT better than the other. Just because WC has a history of gang violence doesn’t mean Burien doesn’t, I know plenty of gang members in Burien, if not more than in WC. Yes, White Center is lower income, there are more people of color, and we have a shady history, but that does not in any way justify saying Burien is “becoming White Center”. Pull yourselves together, we all live in one of the “worst” areas of King County, so stop acting like Burien is exempt from violence because 152nd has “charming” stores and a “neighborhood” atmosphere…..please….

    • Chris says:

      And that is my point exactly. Someone is injured by either a bullet or pellet gun, and everyone proclaims that Burien “is the worst place on earth!!!” Next, it’s on to blaming the city council–further saying that “crime is out of control!”

      Incidents like this are terrible and extremely unfortunate. This incident happened in an area you would least suspect. It appears totally random. There is no pattern in this area. But hey, why not rev up the hyperbole machine and make unsubstantiated claims about crime in Burien.

      My mission today is to pray for the girl who was shot. After that, I’ll be contacting the Sheriff’s Office and getting stats on Burien’s crime.

  9. TcB says:

    Let’s wait until we know more before we make any more blanket statements please. I hope her wound recovers quickly, physically and mentally.

  10. K.C. says:

    This is deeply disturbing. The rumblings about Sylvester students being shot at are true. My child was one of the victims. I agree that splitting hairs over the type of weapon is ridiculous; pellet or bullet, the emotional damage is done. I do not feel that the investigation into the Sylvester shooting was remotely adequate, nor is the police response in general. When reporting that she was being harassed and pressured by some students using drugs at the park, the police told her they could not take her report because she was a minor! How devastating to a teenager who is trying to do the right thing and keep herself, her friends and her community safe. The message she received is that she doesn’t matter and that she’s on her own if she feels threatened. Yes, the majority of the onus is on us parents to protect and raise our kids, but safety net … PLEASE!

    • JS says:

      Hi… I’m a reporter at Channel 7, KIRO TV.
      Would you be willing to share your story of your child getting shot?
      We’d like to talk with you and warn other parents about this happening. From the postings I’m reading, it sounds like this has happened multiple times.
      Thank you,
      [email protected]

  11. AD says:

    Sadly, this kind of violence happens EVERYWHERE. It has been happening for decades, but we now have better communications and media coverage, so we hear about it more. I know the first instinct may be to not walk on our own streets, but we need to have more adults walking alongside the kids. All of the comments I have seen above share the upset and rejection of this kind of event. Every good thought and prayer for a fast recovery of every child hurt by violence. We need to ask ourselves- how can we change? What can we do?

  12. Martin says:

    The girl was probably shot by some N.P. rich kid who just got a new BB gun for his Birthday, not some meth head, section 8, Xbox stealing Burien resident.

    • Jullie Dow says:

      Oh I hate these class warfare posts, to quote.: “Some rich kid from Normandy Park”.

      Of course it does not matter where the victim or the shooter is “from”. It’s a crime.

  13. msl8 says:

    Who cares if White Center is worse than Burien or Burien is worse than White Center? Some of you sound like junior high school kids with your nanananana. My parents were born in and grew up in Burien. I was born in and grew up in Burien. White Center was always considered a rougher part of South Seattle back then. It was Rat City because there were really rats that ran in the gutters. White Center had more taverns and more fights. They didn’t fight like a bunch of really tough gang members with guns. They fought with their fists. I haven’t lived in Burien for many years but on a recent road trip to the area, we were flabbergasted that it was now like a third world city. White Center needs lots of help too. Bedroom communities for the airport.

    We should all be more informed about what goes on in our neighborhoods, cities, states and the nation. The gangs, meth labs, etc are being allowed to continue to thrive. The punishmuent usually doesn’t fit the crime.

    Kids are afraid at schools because of little gang or doper jackasses that attend our schools. Schools get paid for kids to attend school. Figure it out. If they kick the jackasses out of school, no money. Kids that want to learn are held back because of the bad behavior in the classroom that disrupts everyone. Not sure why we allow that.

    We need to contact the police department, as a group, to see how we can take back our neighborhoods from the bad guys. We can’t sit around waiting for someone to take care of us. The police can’t be everywhere all of the time. There isn’t enough budget in anyones’ coffers. God forbid that we cut our budgets (if we have one).

    So that bottom line is, get informed, get off your duffs and do something. Quit complaining. Do something.

  14. GlobalCitizan says:

    I think what we all need to remember is that it does not matter what city we live in, what weapon is used, what our economic status is etc. We are all citizens of a greater global community. When given the opportunity, teach and do what is right. Stand up for and look out for your neighbors, whether it is next door or in the next town. Stop with the me vs. them and them vs. me. I have a child at that school. That doesn’t exempt me from being vigilant as a neighbor and community member and making sure that the kids who go to Seahurst or Gregory or Highline are equally as safe. If you see or know of something that puts any child in danger report it, do something to prevent it. What we need is more mentors, more doers rather then finger pointers.

  15. TcB says:

    If you let KIRO, and other Seattle New organizations get ahold of this it will become “Move over Compton, Burien now the National leader in Deaths, Property Devaluation, Nuclear Winter, Zombie Outbreaks, and Random Ring Pop theft”.
    I think we have some punks going around and doing some “joy shooting” with BB guns/High powered Air guns. This is a serious problem for Our Community and we should investigate how to find these people and stop it. We do not need higher level attention past the City of Burien (and White Center area) for the Seattle News people looking for sensational stories to sell commercials.

    • Shari says:

      Totally agree. Hard to find any of the Seattle networks or papers interested in reporting the positive stuff down here. This horrible story is a tidy fit for the category they have Burien stuck in and insist on reinforcing.

    • Ghost of Maplewild says:

      If in fact the Burien Police Dept. treated the prior shooting in such a cavalier manor, then yes I would like the news outlets look into this.
      “This is a serious problem for Our Community and we should investigate how to find these people and stop it.”
      How do you suggest “we” do this if our own Police blow it off?

      • TcB says:

        Perhaps you could tell me what good it would do to let USA Today blow this up so they can sell advertising space. I’m sure the Police aren’t blowing it off…but you sure do let “suggested” scenarios play inside your brain don’t you.

  16. Frances says:

    If Syvestros kids where shot at, why did the school cover it up

    • Elizabeth says:

      Perhaps you just didn’t hear of it! It is not necessarily a cover up when it happens after school hours and off school grounds.

      • Carol says:

        Because the school covers a lot of things up. Like the girls caught drinking in the bathroom during class, were they suspended? No! just had the beer taken away. Lots has been covered up about the goings on at Sylvester over the last couple of years.

        • Elizabeth says:

          Do you have students attending Sylvester? If you do, and you feel you need to know these things and aren’t being alerted, the please take it up with the principal.

          • Jennifer says:

            I feel as though I should respond to this. I don’t believe the schools cover up things but, if it does not happen on campus then they are not obligated to alert the community. In regards to students being caught drinking on campus that would also not go out to the entire community it would be something that is between the students, their families and the school. I am fairly confident they didn’t just slap the students on the hand and say don’t do it again. They were probably referred to a drug and alcohol counselor which is a better way to serve the student than to suspend them from school.

  17. Nicole says:

    This is a sad story. I hope she recovers quickly. I didn’t hear of a recent shooting at Sylvester and it’s a few blocks from my house. The situations seem similar, random shooting seems similar in the type of weapon/bullet/pellet used. My son might go to Sylvester next year and it doesn’t seem to be getting handled very well at all according to the comment(s) on here. Every city, town, community has issues and it’s sad they only report the bad if anything is reported at all.

  18. TcB says:

    It’s so easy to sit behind your keyboard after your trip to whatever replaced “Meal Makers” and complain that the Police aren’t looking into this or handling it, or the City isn’t handling it right, or rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb. The only thing that we can do is report things that are suspicious or illegal, and the cops will prioritize.
    My house was shot by a guy in a car with a paint gun.
    There are some people around here who are just punks.. simple.
    I think this was some jerks/punks/scallywags/scofflaws (take your pick depending on age).
    I hope the girls and the other people heal up soon.
    If you see someone doing this report it.
    Let’s not start using this space to decry how everything is going downhill, blah blah blah.
    By airing your over hyperbolic statements you begin to look no better than the jerks going around shooting people with airguns, because you’re doing the same thing, only in print.

  19. Tricia Falcon says:

    I live just a few hundred feet from where this happened, and I’ll admit, I feel extremely chagrined that this has happened in a nieghborhood that I moved into because I thought it was safe. Dozens of residents jog/walk/bike these streets at all hours. It will take a long time for me to feel relaxed about walking around again – I do hope that the assailant will be arrested soon

  20. Marilyn Andeson says:

    I live very, very close to the area where the incident took place. I have
    Had news crews come to my door, but have not seen any police! I heard there would be extra patrol in the area! It makes me very angry that there is not more police presence. Everyone in the immediate area should be questioned by the police. We know no more today then 2 days ago! I hope the girl is doing well and more information comes out. We need to look out for each other and enjoy our safe neighborhood again!

  21. Carol says:

    The police are now investigating a fatal shooting in Boulvard park, probably don’t have enough personel to do much more investigation of a non fatel shooting. What gets me is that the reports said nothing about that the girls shooting being closer to a public elementary school that to the Private school she was walking home from.

    • GlobalCitizan says:

      Carol, I think a big part of this story is the fact that the school community that she attended came out in full force to make sure that the media knew this happened so that the community as a whole could be on alert. Not just for the parents and children of that school but so parents in neighboring schools would know as well. The B-Town Blog as well as it’s readers did a phenomenal job getting the word out and many other media outlets actually picked up their story. Did any of the other local schools notify their parent groups? Not that I have heard of and if I was a parent at one of those schools I would be terribly upset at not knowing. So, I guess what I would say is it is up to us as citizen’s. I have always found if you let the editor at the B-Town blog know about a pressing issue locally they do their very best to report it. So, if anyone else get’s shot with pellets or anything (as reported above), aside from calling the police you need to let the media know so the community can be aware.

    • elizabeth2 says:

      @Carol – could you please be more specific as to why it matters whether the victim was .2 mile from a public school or .9 mile from a Catholic school?

      She attended the Catholic chool and that is why the reports carried that information.

      I do not think there is or should be any discussion as to the nature of the school the victim attended. She goes to school where she does and that is that. Pure fact. Remember who, what, when, where……

  22. Conc says:

    Sure is a great world we live in. Remind me to apply for a concealed carry permit.

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