Grayslake man indicted in toddler's shooting in Vernon Hills

Joseph Hatchett, 19, has been charged with felony gun possession, felony reckless conduct and misdemeanor child

endangerment, according to a news release issued Wednesday by the Vernon Hills Police Department.

On June 2, the girl was shot in the arm at her home on the 300 block of Plumwood Lane.

Police said a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol that Hatchett unlawfully possessed discharged while he and his 17-year-old girlfriend were watching her young family members. It is not clear how the weapon was fired.

The 2-year-old, who is a niece of Hatchett's girlfriend, is now out of hospital but suffered extensive injuries. She underwent several surgeries and will need more, police said.

"This is yet another example of how having guns in the hands of the wrong people frequently results in tragedy," Vernon Hills Police Chief Patrick L. Kreis said. "It also highlights the need for all guns to be properly secured safely away from children."

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