A 12-year-old boy admitted to an Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge yesterday that he shot a playmate in the face last summer -- using a handgun he found under a dresser while searching for a water pistol.
The boy, whose feet barely touched the floor as he sat at the defense table, was found delinquent of reckless endangerment and carrying a handgun. He could be incarcerated at youth facilities until he turns 21, said Assistant State's Attorney Fred Paone.
The boy is to be sentenced Dec. 8 by Judge Martin A. Wolff.
Mr. Paone said the boy was playing with an 11-year-old girl at his grandmother's house in the 200 block of Croll Drive about 10 p.m. on July 27.
The children watched television and had been "wrestling around" together when the victim stopped to look at some fish swimming in a tank in a bedroom of the home, Mr. Paone said.
The boy rummaged around the room, found his uncle's .38-caliber snub-nosed Colt under the uncle's dresser, pointed it in the girl's face and said, "I'll shoot you," Mr. Paone said.
The girl said, "No you won't," he recounted.
The boy told her she was right, that he probably wouldn't be shooting anyone because the gun had not worked the day before.
But when the boy pulled the trigger, the weapon fired. One bullet passed through the left side of the girl's cheek. Another half-inch to the center and the shot likely would have killed or blinded her, Mr. Paone said.
The victim ran home and at first told her mother she had cut herself by falling down. She admitted she had been shot after about a half hour, Mr. Paone said.
The boy showed up at the Annapolis police station and confessed the next day, he said.
The boy, who lives in New York City and was visiting relatives when the shooting occurred, will remain in his grandmother's custody pending sentencing, Judge Wolff said.