A Baltimore County police officer has been reprimanded for leaving ahandgun within reach of his two young sons, one of whom accidentallyshot the other with the weapon at the family home in June.

The officer, Steven M. Gillespie of Edgewood, has been given a written reprimand that will remain in his employee record, said Sgt. Stephen Doarnberger, a spokesman for the Baltimore County Police Department.

A written reprimand is considered the most lenient form of punishment at the department, Doarnberger said. "It does not affect the nature of his duties or his assignment."

Gillespie, who has worked atthe police department for three years, will continue working as a patrolman at the North Point precinct, Doarnberger said.

Supervisorsinformed Gillespie of the reprimand on Friday, following an internalinvestigation of the June 23 shooting in which the officer's 3-year-old son was shot.

Gillespie left his personal handgun, which he uses for a second job as a security guard, on a table the night before the shooting, police said.

The officer told investigators that he routinely stores his personal handgun, duty weapon and bullets in a closet, out of reach of his children, Doarnberger said.

"Everyone is confident that it was a momentary lapse," Doarnberger said.

"It was very tragic."

In the shooting, Christopher Gillespie was shot once in the chest with a 38-caliber revolver at the family's home in the 1300 block of Harford Square Drive, police said.

Gillespie hasthe gun for work as a security guard at a McDonald's restaurant in Essex, police said. Gillespie returned home at about 1 a.m. after working at his second job.

The officer put the gun into a pouch on thetable and fell asleep in a chair, police said. He woke up during thenight and went to bed, leaving the gun on the table where his sons found it in the morning.

The Gillespie family told investigators that the boy was handling the gun when his 6-year-old brother, Jason, tried to take the weapon away, said DeWayne D. Curry, spokesman for the sheriff's office.

The gun accidentally fired and a bullet struckChristopher in the upper right chest, police said.

The bullet passed through the boy's chest and lodged in a couch. The boy was treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He was discharged June 29.

The Harford State's Attorney's Office will not file criminal charges in the shooting, following an investigation by county Sheriff's Office.

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