UPDATED: Urbana teen who allegedly shot child in head released from detention

UPDATED: Urbana teen who allegedly shot child in head released from detention

URBANA — A 15-year-old Urbana teen accused of shooting his 8-year-old nephew in the head was released from detention Wednesday afternoon.

Judge Harry Clem allowed the teen to return to the home of his mother, where hours earlier the teen told police a backpack fell from a table, causing a modified flare gun to accidentally discharge and hit the child.

State’s Attorney Julia Rietz filed a juvenile petition charging the teen only with a single count of reckless discharge of a firearm, a Class 4 felony. Had she opted for the more serious aggravated battery with a firearm charge, it would have meant an automatic transfer to adult court for the teen, who has no prior adjudications or even any police contacts.

Clem ordered the teen to stay in his mother’s home but said he could go out if accompanied by an adult over 30 approved by his mother. He’s due back in court July 17.

Urbana police Sgt. Dan Morgan said the shooting happened at the teen’s home in the 800 block of Hawthorne Drive about 9:50 p.m.

Officers found the boy with an obvious head wound.

A great-aunt to the child told The News-Gazette after her other nephew’s detention hearing that the child is in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Carle Foundation Hospital, doing “way better than they expected.”

She said doctors told the family they believe they removed all the skull fragments from his brain and that he was resting. It was too early to tell if he will make a full recovery.

Morgan said the 15-year-old told police he knocked a backpack off a table, there was a loud sound, and then saw the younger boy hurt.

After talking to the teen and finding inconsistencies between what he told them and what they saw in the home, police decided to arrest him.

The backpack that had the flare gun, modified to fire a .410 gauge shotgun shell, was not damaged. There was also a Mason jar containing cannabis flakes and plastic bags in the bag.  In the same room, described as a storage area, police found a loaded Glock gun in a box without a lid. Scales with cannabis flakes were found in the teen's room, Rietz said.

Morgan said there was a parent and two other younger children in the home at the time of the shooting and police are continuing to interview all of them as well as try to learn how the guns got in the home.

The teen denied initially to police that he touched the flare gun, which Assistant State’s Attorney Lindsey Clark said had a metal pipe attached to the barrel.

Morgan said at least one of the younger children may have seen what happened.


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shurstrike wrote on July 01, 2014 at 10:07 pm

"Police received a report of a gun firing in the 800 block of Hawthorne Drive about 9:50 p.m. Wednesday."

 Assuming this is fresh news, today is Tuesday.  

Mike Howie wrote on July 01, 2014 at 11:07 pm
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You are correct; thanks for pointing out the error. It's been fixed.

Mike Howie

online editor

drewbert41 wrote on July 02, 2014 at 8:07 am

Shot in the head with a .410 and will live to tell about it.

Kid is very lucky.


map89 wrote on July 02, 2014 at 6:07 pm

I just saw an interview on WCIA of the mother who stated, "I'm assumin' my kids was upstairs playin' with it and didn't know it would shoot, so I know it was a accident.  So I don't know why they arrested my son."  Unbelievable.  She was not aware there was a modified weapon in the house, as well as a Glock; not to mention cannibus.  Sad thing is, she probably truly doesn't realize there is an issue here; clueless.  Is anyone going to be held accountable for the weapons in the house and the cannibus?  With this obvious lack of parenting, do they really think this thug will show up for the court date?

45solte wrote on July 02, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Why aren't kids being removed temporarily from this environment vs. being sent back there?  I am not really certain the disconnection from his family home isn't more harmful than being out of that environment for a while. The teen can go out with someone his mother approves of?? Sounds like mom's judgment might not be the best, given guns and drugs/scales in the house. Why does it sound as though cops were there before an ambulance? An obvious head wound and the adult in charge of the kids (and now in charge of her teen again), isn't aware this went down in her own home, or, was she the one who called the cops? Hate when that happens, eh. The old kid gets shot in the head from falling backpack with glock and pot lying around thing. An accident alright. Could have never seen that coming.

centurion45 wrote on July 02, 2014 at 9:07 pm
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The State of Illinois is to blame for cutting services that would be able to house the young man longer to protect him from this type of environment. Officers are first on scene if a firearm is involved since it is a shooting. The scene has to be secured from any further threats, and medical comes in to care for the victim after Officers summon them. Typically, medical is staged a block away until the Police direct them to enter.

billbtri5 wrote on July 02, 2014 at 11:07 pm

someone in the house must of had a FOID Card as no charges of that kind were made..

law abiding gun owners  need two background checks to purchase a gun..

its good the lad can now get back to his drug business....

and the backpack falling off the table...that's right up there with my computer's hard drive crashed..


just_wondering wrote on July 03, 2014 at 7:07 pm

No search warrant was issued so everything that was visible at the scene is not "evidence" - emergency personnel were responding to a medical emergency call from a citizen to 9-1-1. Pretty simple. The system protects citizens' rights, perhaps to a fault. I'm not advocating either side of this issue - just stating the facts.