Scene Set in Day-Care Shooting

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 27, 2006

Moments before an 8-year-old boy shot another child at their day-care center this week, he told her to "give me your money," a prosecutor said yesterday.

"What do you want? Nickels, dimes or pennies? I'm broke," the 7-year-old girl responded, according to the prosecutor. Then a bullet from a .38-caliber revolver pierced her upper right arm.

Montgomery County Assistant State's Attorney Karyn McAuliffe provided that account of Tuesday's day-care center shooting in Germantown during an afternoon bond hearing for the boy's father. Prosecutors said the account was based on the police investigation, but they would not elaborate.

The father, John Linwood Hall, 56, insisted in court that he did not teach his son how to use the revolver. "That is not true. That it not true. That is not true. That is not true," Hall blurted out during the hearing in Rockville as McAuliffe argued that the boy has been "dangerously influenced" by his father.

Hall, 56, a maintenance worker at the National Institutes of Health, was charged with five weapons offenses after his son shot the girl shortly before 7 a.m. in a room where they and four other children were watching a movie on television. The incident occurred at the For Kids We Care day-care center at the Northlake apartments in the 12600 block of Grey Eagle Court.

The boy, a third-grader at Cedar Grove Elementary, has been charged as a juvenile with assault, assault while in possession of a firearm and reckless endangerment, among other counts.

The boy shot the Taurus revolver while it was still in his backpack. One of the five bullets in the gun tore through the backpack and penetrated the girl's arm. The victim, who has not been identified by police, was released Wednesday night from Children's Hospital in the District.

Prosecutors said they do not believe that the girl, a second-grader at S. Christa McAuliffe Elementary School, was targeted. They said it remains unclear to what extent the shooting was accidental.

Law enforcement sources said the boy told classmates last Friday after a fight that he had easy access to guns. But they said they are not sure what he planned to do with the gun that day. The two children involved in the shooting were dropped off at the day-care center before the start of school.

Based on the police investigation, McAuliffe said the boy has made profane and threatening statements in the past.

"[Expletive] the police," McAuliffe quoted the boy as saying. "What the [expletive] can they do to a kid, anyway? I'll shoot 'em."

According to McAuliffe, the boy said another time: "Phase 1: Get weapons. Phase 2: Kill the hillbilly."

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