State's Attorney wants tragic situation to serve as a lesson to parents

9-year-old Haylee Garrison was accidentally shot

PEKIN, Ill. - The parents of a girl shot and killed by her cousin in Pekin plead guilty to endangering the life and safety of a child causing death.

The parents of Haylee Garrison entered their pleas on Friday.

Tazewell County State's Attorney, Stewart Umholtz, says he hopes the situation will serve as a reminder to parents.

"If there's any punishment that any parent could ever have in a situation like this it's the death of their child. What we do in court pales in comparison, but we do have an opportunity to again to remind gun owners to be vigilant to keep that gun safe and secure and to educate children that would be around guns so that they can be safe." Umholtz explains.

Garrison died in April when her cousin accidentally shot her in the neck.

Veronica and Terry Garrison pleaded guilty to felony charges for allowing their 3-year-old son access to the loaded handgun. It was sitting on a shelf. Haylee's cousin saw the toddler holding it and took it away. He then shot Haylee, thinking there weren't any bullets in the gun. The convictions will prevent the Garrisons from buying guns in the future.

"If anything good can come out of Haylee Garrison's tragic death it is that we can remind other gun owners how important it is to keep that gun safe and secure and make sure that children are educated about guns and gun safety." Umholtz says.


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