October 22nd, 2012
03:27 AM ET

Relative shoots costumed girl after mistaking her for a skunk

A little girl was fighting for her life early Monday after she was shot outside a Halloween party by a relative who mistook her costume for a skunk.

Police in western Pennsylvania's New Sewickley Township said the 9-year-old girl was dressed in black with a black hat for the Saturday evening party.

As the two to three dozen guests milled about, the girl went to hide on the edge of a hill.

It was past 8 p.m. and the sun had long set. A relative spotted the dark figure in the distance, mistook it for a skunk and fired his shotgun, said Officer Greg Carney with the township police.

The girl was hit in the neck, back and arm - and flown to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, about 30 miles away. There, she remained in the intensive care unit, Carney said.

Police will determine later Monday whether they will charge the shooter, whom they did not name. Nor did they say how he was related to the girl.

They did add, however, that the man had not been drinking.

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Filed under: Halloween • Pennsylvania • U.S.
soundoff (1,550 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    My God, how big ARE the skunks in Pennsylvania if a 9 year old can be mistaken for one?

    I hope this poor little girl recovers fully.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. jack butler

    I dont care if he had been drinking or not. one if he could not fully see his target he had no business discharging the weapon in the first place. Everyone who takes hunters safety or handles a gun should inharently know this. Two if it was a skunk, there us little reason to shoot ut even they normally just move on if they know people are near. What an idiot, he should be punish according. nothing to severe but something that will make it clear, that his ignorance of gun safety caused this. Blah!!!!!!!

    October 22, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom the Other One


      October 22, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. vanitymav

    Only in America.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. John

    While I don't advocate an overall gun ban, I would certainly say that this individual should have his license revoked. Shooting at a poorly-seen motion, when you know children are playing outside, is criminally irresponsible. He obviously didn't have a good view of what he was shooting at; a nine-year-old is much larger than a skunk.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. diwash

    Looks like people are just shooting around everything and say it as mistaken for other things. no matter what those kind of suckers should be jailed, because it is a murder

    October 22, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom the Other One

      I’m pretty sure it’s man slaughter but otherwise I agree with you. I say this as a gun owner myself.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dean

    From the time I was old enough to know what a gun was, we were taught NEVER to fire until your target was positively identified. Even most rednecks will acknowledge this. If you have to shoot..just be sure you know what you are shooting at, and never try to identify the target at night without some illumination. In most places it is against the law to fire at something after dusk. Idiots..prosecute this one to the full extent of the law and make him pay for the childs care until she can shoot him in return for the skunk he really is!

    October 22, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. tct

    He wasn't even drunk? That's hopeless, if he was drunk we could hope he'd sober up.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Nic

    You do not get it, do you, gun-loving republicans?

    October 22, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom the Other One

      I’m a democrat and support your right to bear arms. Education my friend..you and this guy need it.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. j_eezy

    must have been a hell of a costume

    October 22, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. BeeMan

    You'd think that before you shot at something in your back yard, you'd want to know where the kids are, just to be sure.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Stefan

      Let alone knowing where your kids are... know what you are shooting at.

      "Hmmm, not sure what that is.... I better use deadly force!!!"

      October 22, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • x

      Who shoots a skunk in their backyard anyways, wouldn't it smell bad for miles?

      October 22, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Cyndie Buck

      Even at 9 yrs old, that's a mighty big skunk! Prayers are with little girl and her family!

      October 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sinfully Yours

    That's one big skunk!

    Gonna need a bigger gun!

    October 22, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  12. pod

    Discharging a firearm while kids are milling about is not very wise.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Van Tran

      "They did add, however, that the man had not been drinking."

      He wasn't drunk, but likely stoned.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Trollheart

    Good argument for gun control. Not only is this man an idiot for shooting at something he couldn't really see, he is stupid enough to shoot at a skunk. I live in Texas; skunks do not get as large as a 9-year-old child. Just because more people die on car crashes and obesity doesn't mean it's OK for a 9-year-old girl to be shot and possibly killed because an idiot has a gun.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Izzy

      How is this a good argument for control? A man in colorado is struck by lightning – completelly random event. Is that a good argument to not wear metal? It's an obviously random event. That is not adequate data for an arguemtn for or against gun control. Where did you go to school?
      As the article said, the sun was set, all he saw was a movement in the bushes. It can be ANYTHING, and there are a horde of little girls outside. You don't go and investigate, or call out to an animal. He reacted in his best judgement. A tragic tale, but a mistake. If it HAD been an animal attack, would that be an arguemtn FOR guns?


      October 22, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Gregg


      This is not a completely random occurance on the same level as a lightening strike. That is a completely BS line of reasoning. I am all for responsible gun ownership, and have owned a few in my life. This was a case of thoughtless and irresponsible gun ownership and use. Beyond that a skunk, far enough away to not be positively identified is rarely responsible for an animal attack, so your second arguement falls flat as well.

      Be careful who you call an idiot, when posting idiotic comments.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      It's a good article for common sense and perhaps sobriety. You don't shoot skunks in your own backyard. They stink whether you hit them or not!

      October 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. FredInIT

    One word: Stumphead!

    October 22, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. Chilcat

    1.He shoull be charged.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
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