Police arrest father of boy who shot girl in Md. day care center


By STEPHEN MANNING
Associated Press Writer

GERMANTOWN, Maryland- The father of an 8-year-old who accidentally shot a 7-year-old girl at a suburban Washington daycare was arrested on gun charges, and police said the boy was in custody.

John Linwood Hall Sr., 56, was charged with leaving a firearm in a location accessible by an unsupervised minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and possession of a firearm by a felon, according to Montgomery County police. He was being held in lieu of $750,000 (euro610,054) bond.

Police charged the boy in the case, Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas Gansler said, Tuesday, but he would not detail the charges because the 8-year-old is a juvenile. The boy, whose name was not released, was to have his case reviewed by the Department of Juvenile Services, according to a police news release.

The boy came to For Kids We Care Inc. early Tuesday morning with a .38-caliber Taurus revolver and with bullets, in his backpack. He was handling the gun inside the backpack when it went off, striking the girl in the arm.

The girl was in stable condition at Children's Hospital in Washington and her wounds were not considered life-threatening, authorities said.

Police said the boy found the gun, which Hall had owned for several years, in a container in his father's closet. Police searched Hall's apartment, and the charging document said there were "numerous" weapons at the apartment to which his son had access.

Under Maryland law, it is a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine (euro813) to store a gun in a place where an unsupervised child can access the weapon.

Hall has an extensive criminal record dating to the 1960s, according to charging documents. It includes several convictions of assault with intent to maim and gun charges. He could be sentenced to five years in prison if convicted of being a felon in possession of a handgun and three years on the delinquency of a minor charge.

Gansler said the boy knowingly brought the gun to the center and that charges related to the shooting were filed against him were in the "best interest of the 8-year-old to make sure he gets the help he needs" from the state. The shooting, however, was an accident, he said.

The wounded girl's father, who was not identified, issued a statement through the hospital Tuesday evening saying, the girl would return to the center when she is "well enough."

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Associated Press writer Heather Greenfield in Rockville, Maryland, contributed to this story.

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