NW Indiana man gets 5-year sentence for boy’s fatal shooting

A northwest Indiana man has been sentenced to two years in prison for the death of a 4-year-old boy he was babysitting who accidentally shot himself with an unsecured handgun.

A Lake County judge sentenced Brett A. Beatty, 32, of Winfield, to five years on Thursday for failing to secure the handgun Eric Cole of Wheatfield found under Beatty’s bed and used to fatally shoot himself in August 2017.

The judge ordered Beatty to serve two years of his sentence in prison, followed by two years in community corrections and one year of probation. Beatty had pleaded guilty in April to reckless homicide, a felony, and criminal recklessness, a misdemeanor.

The child’s fatal shooting occurred at a residence Beatty and his girlfriend, Rachel Griffin, 27, shared in Crown Point, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

Beatty was the manager of a McDonald’s restaurant where the child’s mother was an employee when he agreed to babysit the boy and his 8-year-old sister so their mother could work.

According to court documents, Beatty left the children in Griffin’s care to get a haircut without telling her about a .40-caliber gun under their bed or properly securing the firearm.

The boy found the gun and accidentally shot himself.

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