Police: Toddler accidentally shot in Vernon Hills home

A 19-year-old man is facing charges after a 2-year-old girl was accidentally shot Friday in a Vernon Hills home, authorities said.

Joseph Hatchett of Grayslake is charged with reckless conduct, a felony, and endangering the life or health of a child, a misdemeanor, Vernon Hills police said Saturday.

The girl and her brothers, ages 3 and 6, were left in the care of their 17-year-old aunt and Hatchett, the aunt's boyfriend, police said.

Officers were call to the home at about 2:14 p.m. Friday on a report of a child injured by fireworks, police said. They later determined that the girl been shot.

A loaded semi-automatic pistol had been left on a bed and discharged, striking the 2-year-old in the arm, according to police. It's not known how the gun fired, but the shooting is believed to be unintentional, police said.

The girl was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville and then flown to Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, where she remains hospitalized with injuries that are serious but do not appear to be life-threatening, police said.

Her brothers have been removed from the home while the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigates.

"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 L. Kreis said in a news release. "I encourage all members of the community to discuss gun safety with their children and all gun owners to recommit themselves to the highest standards of safety."

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