Urbana teen admits firing flare gun that wounded cousin
URBANA — An Urbana teen who admitted he fired a modified flare gun into the head of his 8-year-old cousin in Urbana is scheduled to be sentenced in Champaign County Circuit Court next month.
Assistant State's Attorney Claire Sharples-Brooks said the boy, now 16, admitted in juvenile court Friday to a charge of reckless discharge of a firearm. He will be sentenced Sept. 3.
The normal range of penalties for the Class 4 felony for adults is probation to one to three years in prison. However, juveniles may be held in the Department of Juvenile Justice indefinitely until their 21st birthday. The teen has no prior police contacts and no criminal record, Sharples-Brooks said.
Sharples-Brooks told Judge Harry Clem that the shooting happened at the teen's home in the 800 block of Hawthorne Drive just before 10 p.m. July 1.
She said the teen found a flare gun, fitted with a makeshift barrel to fire a shotgun shell, in a backpack in the house. The gun went off in his hand and hit his 8-year-old cousin in the head.
Sharples-Brooks said the latest information she had about the victim was that he remained hospitalized last week at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis and was improving.
The teen initially told Urbana police that the gun was in a backpack, that the pack fell to the floor, and the gun accidentally discharged. Given that the backpack was intact, police quickly determined the teen was not telling the truth.
The mother of the teen was in another room at the time of the shooting. She told The News-Gazette last month she didn't know where it had come from.
Police believe the gun belonged to an adult male relative of the teen, who was paroled to that address. State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said a parole warrant has been issued by the Illinois Department of Corrections for that adult to get him back into custody.