The mayor of south suburban Harvey says there is “sufficient evidence” to charge the parents of 2-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed inside a home last week, but prosecutors say there’s not enough to make a case.
“As an attorney and mayor, I have had time to review the case and the evidence, and believe there is sufficient evidence,” Mayor Christopher J. Clark said in a statement Wednesday.
But the Cook County state’s attorney’s office countered with a statement of its own: “Additional evidence [is] needed before a final charging decision can be made. At this time, the matter remains a continuing investigation.”
The parents of Majestee Hale were arrested and later released after a gun accidentally discharged on Oct. 4 inside her grandmother’s house near 153rd Street and Lexington Avenue, a Harvey spokesman said.
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Clark and his office declined to say who was handling the gun when it went off and struck Majestee in the head. Police have said other children were inside the home at the time, and shell casings were found inside, Clark said in his statement.
Majestee’s father carried her out of the home and they were taken by police to Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, where Majestee was pronounced dead. The cause and manner of death remain pending further investigation.
The gun that killed the little girl was legally owned, and was one of two guns found in the house, a Harvey official said. The other children who were in the home remain in the custody of the parents.
Majestee and her parents do not live in the area and were staying at Majestee’s grandmother’s home at the time of the shooting, the official said.
In its statement, the state’s attorney’s office said it reviewed “initial information brought to us by the Harvey Police Department” and decided more evidence was needed for criminal charges to be filed.
Clark said Majestee’s death “reminds us of the dangers of guns in the home.”