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. ChristoInferno

    Why was he shooting in the first place? Given that he couldn't even tell what species he was aiming at, I'd say it's safe to assume the "skunk" was too far away to be any kind of threat or nuisance. So, really, what was the point?

    October 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. graviton

    This little girl's life and pursuit of happiness is threaten by idiot with gun. Imagine if she was your daughter, how would you feel about right to bear arms by idiots?

    October 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Why have charges not been filed in New Sewickley Township. He must be a registered voter and the town cannot miss his ballot. The sheriff must be his brother and need his vote

      If I were the little girl's father this man would have the same justice he tried to give a so called skunk.

      Pray for the girl and hope the Idiot with a shotgun gets his in court!!

      October 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mantan

    This person must go to jail.. You do not point your gun at anything you do not intend to shoot. And you must positively Identify target...
    That person is not competent to be a responsible gun owner... Take all his guns away.
    Even the NRA tells people again and again. Know what your target it.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • mantan

      I meant to say, "Know what your target is."
      People must begin to use common sense.. That is the number one reason you have a brain. Americans MUST begin to start using that brain again...

      October 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • lawrencewinkler

      The NRA says a lot of things, but part of the thrill of shoot'n is kill'n. Real men shoot first and ask questions later.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Not true Larry! Many of us gun owners don't kills things. I get no pleasure out of that.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cliff

    This is why stupid people "want" guns? To protect their hill side from shadowy skunks! How many more times are we going to read articles like this one before we wake up! When you let just anyone own and operate a weapon with potential results such as this we are all at risk of being the next "shadowy skunk" to be shot!

    October 22, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bill

    What a complete idiot. The largest skung I've ever seen was about a foot tall and long. How big was this nine year old girl? Why would you shoot a skunk anyway? Thats just going to smell up the place for week.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kate

    How much alcohol do you think was involved?

    October 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. svann

    With a mind like that its just a good thing he doesnt drink.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cliff

    there is no accident here! A clear thought process occured! "I see something that would be fun to kill, let me get my gun, show off to the people at my party and kill without investigating the situation first!" Shame on anyone comparing a situation like this to that of a true accident to justify owning a gun!

    October 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Obama

    This is why I want to take guns away from everyone. Americans are too stupid have guns in their possession.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. R Graziano

    The #1 question, was his gun licensed?

    October 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Geoff

    Classic...good thing americans have those all important guns, wouldn't want the skunks to go through your yard anytime they want! Too many dumb people in the world for guns to be so easy to get.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Annie

    Another reason to support gun control. Why you would need to even kill the skunk at that distance. I think charges should be filed

    October 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dana

    To those who keep on asking why he was shooting? Because he had a gun, that's why. Duh. Compare statistics from UK of people shot with a gun per capita. A Brit can't get a gun, there are virtually no murders and no shootings.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diraphe

      Actually it is because Skunks have a high rate of carrying rabies. Should have obviously confirmed his target though.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotaHunter

      Actually that's not true. Although the murder rate in the UK is much lower than in the US, they have around 600 murders a year. To say there are virtually no murders is just plain wrong.

      October 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Shuffler

    Charges should be filed. This idiot failed to identify his prey.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • christian w

      He should have identifyed the prey or called out to his prey.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nature

      One simple rule. Know exactly what you are shooting at. The person behind the gun should be charge with attempted murder.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • OMG

      Hhaha, all the gun owners love to shoot. They will take any chance just to shoot whatever comes thru, regardless what it looks like. What the purpose own a gun and never shoot a live object.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. lisaspups

    My heart goes out to that little girl and her family. To shoot a gun in the vicinity of a crowd is beyond stupid. He should be charged for reckless endangerment, at the very least. He also should be charged with attempted animal cruelty. That skunk was clearly no threat to anyone, so why shoot it? This guy is not only an idiot. He is a trigger happy idiot and a poster child for why certain people should not be allowed to own guns.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melanie

      Exactly!! Why shoot at a skunk? He must be one of those hunters that lives by the rules when it comes to hunting – his own rules, shoot whatever, whenever. He should go to prison on multiple charges!

      October 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
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