Officers responded to a report at a local hospital where they made contact with the mother. The woman said she left the purse in a bedroom at their home before the weapon was found by the 3-year-old.
The 2-year-old died from an injury sustained in the shooting accident. The Lake County Prosecutor's Homicide Task Force is investigating the incident.
“We do criminal investigations, and then we present that to the Lake County prosecutor, who makes a decision whether it’s negligence or an unfortunate accident,” Gary Police Commander Sam Roberts told WLS-TV.
Mayor Jerome A. Prince and Gary Police Chief Anthony Titus issued a joint statement urging parents to make sure firearms are secured properly, which includes keeping firearms in gun boxes and setting gun locks, while also warning that other devices could "become weapons in the hands of innocent children."
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the loved ones of the two-year-old child who was so tragically taken from our community,” Prince and Titus said in the joint statement obtained by the AP.