01/24/2006

Police: 7-year-old girl accidentally shot in arm at day care center; 8-year-old boy questioned

By STEPHEN MANNING
Associated Press Writer

GERMANTOWN, Md.- A gun brought to a day care center by an 8-year-old boy accidentally went off Tuesday, wounding a 7-year-old girl in the arm, police said.

The boy had the gun in a backpack and was playing with it when it went off at the For Kids We Care center, Montgomery County police spokesman Derek Baliles said.

The girl was taken to Children's Hospital in Washington, he said. Her injury was not considered life-threatening.

There were six children in the center at the time of the shooting, which happened around 7 a.m. No one else was hurt.

Officers were interviewing the boy Tuesday afternoon to find out how he got the weapon and how it was fired. Police also plan to talk to the other children and to the boy's parents.

Names of the children, both from Germantown, a suburb of Washington, were not released. They were dropped off by their parents at the center, which provides care before school hours as well as daylong care for younger children.

Police spokeswoman Nancy Nickerson visited the scene shortly after the shooting and said the children were watching television.

"The day care provider there did an excellent job of keeping the children safe and secure and calm," she said.

For Kids We Care Inc. operates two medium-size daycare centers in Germantown, according to its Web site.

"I'm a little concerned, of course, I'm just a little flustered right now, and nervous." Jackie Tazwell, who came to pick up her child at the center, told Washington-area television stations. "But things like this happen. It's a blessing that the little girl is OK."

The center has been licensed by the state since August 2003, said Bill Reinhard, a spokesman with the Maryland Department of Education.

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Associated Press writer Heather Greenfield in Rockville, Md., contributed to this report.

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