- The Washington Times - Friday, April 14, 2006

A Montgomery County man accused of teaching his 8-year-old son to use a handgun the day before the boy shot a classmate at a Germantown day care center in January now is wanted in the stabbing of the boy’s mother, authorities say.

Police said John Linwood Hall Sr., 56, confronted his 37-year-old ex-girlfriend outside her Gaithersburg apartment at about 8:50 p.m. Thursday in the 8500 block of Snouffer School Road.

Police said the woman tried to escape into the building but Hall followed her, punched her in the face and stabbed her with a small knife. The woman banged on doors of other apartments until a neighbor called police, and Hall ran away before officers arrived.

The woman was treated at the scene.

A warrant was issued for Hall’s arrest on charges of first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and carrying a deadly weapon with the intent to injure another.

Hall already was facing a trial in May on charges stemming from the January incident at the day care center.

Prosecutors say Hall’s 8-year-old son took a .38-caliber handgun from a hatbox in the closet of a bedroom he shared with his father. The boy sneaked the gun in his backpack to the For Kids We Care day care center on Grey Eagle Court and was playing with the gun inside the backpack when he shot a 7-year-old girl in the arm.

The victim, a second-grader at S. Christa McAuliffe Elementary School in Germantown, suffered a compound fracture of the bone in her upper arm.

Hall maintained that the shooting was an “accident,” and his sister said the boy learned to handle the weapon from video games featuring rap performer 50 Cent. But prosecutors said that Hall gave his son other violent video games and that the 8-year-old had a history of making threatening statements, including threats to kill police officers.

Hall initially was charged with leaving a firearm accessible to a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and possession of a firearm by a felon. A judge lowered the $750,000 bond set by a District Court commissioner to $75,000.

Court records said Hall, a convicted felon with an arrest record dating back to 1968, had not been convicted of a crime for 17 years, including the past 10 years when he was employed in maintenance at the National Institutes of Health.

Authorities later added felony possession of a handgun and an illegal transfer of a firearm charges. A judge set a $50,000 bond on those charges.

Montgomery County State’s Attorney Douglas F. Gansler yesterday questioned why Hall was released.

“As a general rule, a person who has a felony conviction who is found in possession of a firearm — particularly where that firearm is used to shoot an innocent 7-year-old girl in a day care center — should be held without bond until trial,” he said.

Gun possession by a felon carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison in Maryland.

Last month, Mr. Gansler dropped charges against the boy. The decision was another step in a process initiated by prosecutors to get the boy into the custody of state social workers.

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