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Centreville Man Charged in Shooting of Boy, 7

It's one thing to entertain a child while babysitting him. It's quite another to play "war" with guns containing real bullets, because someone can get hurt.

AND THAT'S exactly what Fairfax County police say happened recently when a 54-year-old Centreville man babysat a friend's 7-year-old boy. The child ended up getting shot in the leg, and the man wound up in jail.

He is Alexander Bayden of 6800 Massaponax Place in the Hanna Estates community. Police charged him with malicious wounding, discharging a firearm in an occupied residence and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

In a March 7 affidavit to seek evidence of these crimes in Bayden's home, police Officer Carter Alsberry of the Fair Oaks District Station detailed the case against the Centreville man. He explained that, on Feb. 5, he responded to Inova Fair Oaks Hospital for a report of a 7-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to his leg.

The officer spoke to the child's mother there, and she told him that she'd left her son, that evening, in Bayden's care at his home. Centre View is not revealing the mother's name, since her son is a victim.

"Approximately 25 minutes later, she received a phone call from Bayden saying that a gun fell over and discharged and that her son was struck in the leg," wrote Alsberry. The mother then rushed to Bayden's house, and she and Bayden took the boy to the hospital for treatment.

The officer also talked with Bayden at the hospital. "He advised that the two of them were in the basement of his home, looking at his gun collection," wrote Alsberry. "Bayden [said] he removed the guns from the gun case — [including] a pistol and a shotgun."

The officer wrote that Bayden told him he "checked the guns and made sure there was no ammunition in the weapons. He then allowed [the boy] to look at the guns. Bayden advised [me] that they had been playing war, but he told [the child] that they could not point the guns at him — only at the stuffed, animal heads on the wall."

According to Alsberry, Bayden told him they put the gun off to the side and went back to playing. He said Bayden claimed the gun fell over and fired a bullet, wounding the boy in the leg.

"Bayden advised [me] that he carried the child upstairs and called his mother," wrote Alsberry. "He never requested rescue and waited for the mother to arrive at the residence. The mother decided to take the child to the emergency room."

THE OFFICER also interviewed the young victim in the hospital. He stated the boy told him he was playing war with Bayden. "He was running away from Bayden when he heard a loud noise and he fell down," wrote Alsberry. "[The boy] advised that Bayden pointed the gun in his general direction prior to [his] hearing the loud noise and falling on the floor."

Alsberry noted that "[the boy] stated that he did not load the gun," and was unsure who had, or when. Meanwhile, police Officer J.M. Smith spoke with Bayden's wife, Tatiana.

Alsberry wrote that she told Smith she and her husband were watching the child, that evening. "She stated that Alexander Bayden and [the boy] were in the basement when she heard a gunshot noise and [the boy] screaming," wrote Alsberry. "She ran downstairs and saw [the child] bleeding and the gun lying on the floor."

She told police she picked up the gun and put it back inside the gun case, wrote the officer. She and her husband then carried the injured boy upstairs and phoned his mother. "Officer Smith observed five bullet holes in the wall," wrote Alsberry. "Tatiana Bayden also pointed out a shotgun in the gun case that she said was the gun that shot [the boy]."

Smith only removed three bullets that were in the wall and did not take any other items from the home at that time. When he left Bayden's house, the shotgun was still in the gun case. Therefore, Alsberry requested a search warrant to obtain from that residence "any and all shotguns, used shell casings, ammunition [and] storage devices for shotguns [and] paperwork relating to the sale, possession or purchase of shotguns and/or ammunition." He also sought to seize any bloody clothing or furniture at the scene, as well as hairs, fibers, trace evidence, blood and latent fingerprints.

Police arrested Alexander Bayden on Monday, March 7. He was released from the Adult Detention Center, two days later, on $9,000 bond. He has an April 8 court date and, if convicted of malicious wounding, could receive as much as 20 years in prison.