A Grayslake man is in custody after a two-year-old child was shot and seriously injured in Vernon Hills in what police believe was an unintentional shooting.
The Vernon Hills Police Department and Countryside Fire Protection District responded around 2:14 p.m. Friday to the 300 block of Plumwood Lane in Vernon Hills.
Vernon Hills Deputy Police Chief Shannon Holubetz said a 911 caller initially reported a child had been injured by fireworks.
Officers arrived on the scene and determined the two-year-old girl had actually been shot.
An investigation into the incident revealed that a loaded semi-automatic pistol was left on a bed, Holubetz said.
The gun was discharged and the round struck the child in her left arm.
“At this point, it is unknown how the pistol fired, but the shooting is believed to have been unintentional,” Holubetz said.
The two-year-old girl, as well as her three-year-old and six-year-old brothers, were being cared for by their 17-year-old aunt and her 19-year-old boyfriend at the time of the shooting.
Holubetz said evidence collected through the investigation led to charges being approved against Joseph Hatchett, 19, of Grayslake.
Hatchett is facing one count of reckless conduct causing great bodily harm, a Class 4 felony, and child endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor.
Additional charges are pending the continued investigation.
The child was rushed to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville by ambulance.
The girl was later flown to the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago for specialized care.
Holubetz said the victim’s injuries are serious but not considered life-threatening. She remains hospitalized as of Saturday.
The child’s siblings have been removed from the home pending further investigation by the Department of Children and Family Services, Holubetz said.
The shooting occurred on National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
“This is a jarring reminder of why all gun owners must store their firearms in a safe and responsible manner,” Vernon Hills Police Chief Patrick Kreis said.
“I encourage all members of the community to discuss gun safety with their children and all gun owners to re-commit themselves to the highest standards of safety,” Kreis said.