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Iowa parents given probation after young child shot by their illegal gun

gunDUBUQUE, IOWA – An Iowa couple who illegally owned a gun allowed their 2-year-old son to play with the weapon, leading to a shooting and charges for the parents.

A husband and wife who illegally possessed a firearm were each sentenced recently to a five year term of probation.

Willie Earl Horsley, Sr., 30, and Raven Javay Harris, 26, from Dubuque, Iowa, received the sentence after an April 20, 2016, guilty plea to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person. Both individuals were prohibited from possessing a firearm because of their illegal drug use.

Evidence during the proceedings showed that Horsley and Harris were both unlawful users of marijuana and kept in their residence a .45 caliber pistol. On January 3, 2016, police responded to their residence after receiving a 911 call regarding a shooting. Horsley and Harris’ had left the firearm in their bedroom, accessible to their minor children. The children began playing with the firearm, which led to the shooting of Horsley and Harris’ two year old son. The child suffered multiple injuries and was airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospitals for treatment.

Horsley and Harris were sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. A special assessment of $100 was imposed.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisa C. Williams and investigated by the Dubuque Police Department.

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