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. Dave

    Oh yea. He needs to be charged and stripped of gun ownership rights. Idiot!

    October 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Not a Scholar

    Hmmmmmm having a party where children are milling around outside. And you go and pick up a gun and pull the trigger? Maybe he should have been drinking. Then he would not have cared about, less seen a skunk.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mr. Hand

    Exactly, thank god this wasn't in the South or people would be jumping all over that as usual. There's idiots everywhere. Thoughts are with the little girl.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. reality check

    A childrens' halloween party going on and this "relative" of the young girl brandishes a firearm. 'Says a lot about the gene pool of that family.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Corey

    Not that I'm against guns (I own three). But stories like this is why people want restrictions on guns. If you are a shoot first and ask questions later type of person you sure make it hard for everybody else. We had one of those for a president and look what that got us. It sure would be nice if everyone (gun owner) would take a gun safety class. A refresher class every few years would help as well.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Detective Clouseau

    One question remains to be asked:

    Who has a Halloween 10 days before Halloween? Do you celebrate Xmas on December 15? Break out the bubbly on December 22?

    Halloween is on October 31st. Period.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myron Pitts

      @Detective Clouseau: That may not be the burning question you seem to believe it is. There are plenty of Halloween parties before Halloween. You're behind the times. Halloween has become a major holiday, if you haven't noticed.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mainelylobster

    I live in Maine my whole life.seen alot of skunks. I have never seen one attack a cat or dog. Why would you shoot a skunk.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Me neither. But skunks are notorious carriers of rabies and are a nuisance with their spray.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. joe t

    I am a hunter and gun owner all my life. It is completely beyond my comprehension how something like this happens. Thankfully the little girl is alive, albeit, hopitalized. This wasn't an accident, it was an act of major, world class, stupidity. What's even scarier is that he wasn't drunk (or stoned).

    October 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sean

    This guy choose not to follow the shooting rule of: "Know your target and what lies beyond." He was clearly negligent and should be charged as such.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Karl

    What a knucklehead. Criminally negligent at best !

    October 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. slowbro

    First rule I learned about guns, don't point it at anything you dont want to shoot and don't shoot anything if you aren't sure about what it is.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      ...thats two rules...

      October 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thomas A. Hawk

      Regardless of how many rules that may be, it's good advice. The advice my grandfather gave me - "don't aim at anything you don't intend to kill."

      October 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      1st gun rules I learned is that guns are stupid and that people who shoot skunks with guns are even more stupid.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slogun

      First rule I learn regarding guns is that if you can't count, you shouldn't have a gun.
      This way you can at least count how many legs the thing has.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JT

    If the kid had been killed by a lawnmower nobody would be on here trying to get those outlawed. If they guy was negligent he will will, at minimum, lose his rights to firearms (while those of us who are more careful can keep them).

    October 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nuit

      Not an ampt comparison. If a people started to aim and purposefully run over the children with lawn mowers at such high rates, I think they'd be trying to tighten restrictions on them as well

      October 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sid Prejean

      A lawnmower? Really? A lawnmower?

      Wayne LaPierre's minions are clearly out of ideas.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slogun

      lawnmowers are made to mow lawns. Guns are made to kill things.

      But, if you're going to hurt her, at least give her a fighting chance. Dress her up like a lion. A skunk...that's not even close to a fair fight.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slogun

      "he will will, at minimum, lose his rights to firearms (while those of us who are more careful can keep them)."

      Really?? Did Dick Cheney lose his right to firearms after shooting his hunting buddy in the face?
      I don't think so...

      October 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thomas A. Hawk

      I'm not trying to get guns outlawed. I want to outlaw ownership and usage by people who don't understand gun safety.

      The shooter could not see what he was aiming at and the target was not an immediate threat (this wasn't self defense). One basic gun safety rule is to being able to see the target well enough to identify it. Someone who can't follow that rule shouldn't be allowed to own or use a firearm.

      My view is that people should have to take classes and pass tests. The NRA already offers classes. People should be taking, and passing, those before they get guns. That's my view.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Amanda

    Did he seriously need to shoot a "skunk" 3 times to kill it?? There's something wrong about this story. Praying for the little girl.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Green Army

      It was a shotgun. He likely only fired once and pellets hit her in three areas (likely more than three pellets).

      October 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      It was a shotgun, chances are he only fired it once and the shot scattered to various parts of the child.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich Ellingson

      Amanda, please do the following:

      1. Read the story carefully
      2. Learn the difference between a shotgun and a rifle (a shotgun shoots many small projectiles in a single shot.
      3. Refrain from making idiotic comments when you don't understand the underlying facts.

      Clearly the shooter was an idiot, and should never have fired on something he wasn't sure about. But knuckleheaded comments like yours add nothing to the discussion.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Amanda – Shotugns shoot a "spray" of little lead balls, so one shot hits multiple places. He only fired once, but the girl was hit in three places...

      October 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      Wow – what's with the hostility aimed at Amanda? Not everybody knows the difference between a shotgun and other types of firearms. All she was doing was making a concerned observation about this little girl's injuries and what led to the, It's people's misguided anger and vile spewing of hate at others that makes the world such a tragic place sometimes. Why not add to the solution rather than the problem?

      October 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thomas A. Hawk

      I agree with praying for the girl. However, the shooter used a shotgun. It would be rather unusual to fire one of those things 3 times without reloading...

      October 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      @michelle – The hostility is aimed at Amanda because she seeks to comment and ban on something for which she doesn't even have a basic understanding of.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. The Coroner

    Nobody does this...

    October 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Billy

    Something doesn't smell right. 🙂

    October 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
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