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. Diraphe

    I agree with the low IQ; but how do you know he hates animals?
    Skunks are notorious for carrying rabies. While I would have no problem myself with skunks on my property (they are good for rodent control) if I had children or pets on the property I would not take the risk.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Deb Bobbitt

    Children Party drinking dark GUN = Tragedy Will Happen!

    October 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      article said that the shooter was not drinking. how is a 9 year old child mistaken for a 9 lb 4 legged animal no bigger than a cat?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Swag

      Stuff happens. Move on

      October 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. OnlyOne

    This tragedy could have been averted if everyone involved had a gun! Had she been armed, that nine year old could've returned fire, preventing any other guests from being mistakenly shot. NRA forever!

    October 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • PDXGUY

      Exactly...such a simple solution, thank you for bringing sanity to the discussion!

      October 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • OMG

      Well said, I heard this one a lot, everytime someone shot someone.......I agreed she should be armed

      October 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Diraphe

    @Anti-guns Because skunks tend to carry rabies? Granted they are also good for pest control so I guess it is up to you weather the risk is worth it or not.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anti-guns

      rabies is fatal to skunks, how can they all have it and still be around to breed? these harmless animals are slow moving and great at pest control, eating rats,mice and insects. they are great for farmers!

      October 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. moralright

    This is beyond stupid. Since when do skunks threaten humans!!! never!. The skunk was in the distance! what does this moron think he was trying to accomplish?

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

      big picture when are skunks the same size as 9 yr old child ???

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

      You are so stupid, as the gun owner that's what they do. SHOOT

      October 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rubes

    I live on a farm and shoot every skunk I see. Nearly 100% of them carry rabies and they raid the nests of game birds. I don't have a problem with shooting skunks, but one of the first rules to shooting/hunting is to identify the target. This guy failed and is paying the price.

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

      Actually, the poor 9 yr old girl is paying the price... But hey, at least you have your priorities straight...

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

      Rubes,

      With your mentality I am going to imagine reading a CNN article about you soon, doing something as STUPID as shooting a 9 year old and attempting to think it is a skunk. Evidently you tell the sheep it is six inches on your farm and it is an inch ( get the point!! ) .

      October 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. geewaorker

    lay off the meth

    and how big are the skunks in PA ?

    October 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. An idiot even if it was a skunk

    Shooting is meant to be done in a safe, sport type of setting or for protection. Skunks hardly posed any sort of threat to him so there was little to no reason to take its life.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jazzkitten

    Putting really *everything else* aside. How tiny is this 9 year old that she's mistaken for a skunk? Or perhaps the better question...what in the hell are you feeding the skunks in Pennsylvania that they can be mistaken for 9 year old girls, at any distance?

    October 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alina

    I'm completely taken aback that there's any question whether to press charges against this guy.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. FactsRBad

    This man should be charged as follows:

    LIVING WHILE TERMINALLY STUPID

    Throw the book at this cretin.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. guest

    where are you getting your statistics from??? rabies is fatal to skunks, how can they all have it and still be around to breed? these harmless animals are slow moving and great at pest control, eating rats,mice and insects. they are great for farmers!

    October 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. joshua

    please dont charge him is enough and i bet he will never carry a gun again. give him a chance and lets pray to God for saving the young girl. we should burn all guns includding military weapons of all kind. worldwide.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Emilie Meyer

    This is a terrible story. Hopefully the little girl will pull thru. However, maybe this un-named man will think twice about choosing to shoot a gun while at a party. Drinking or not this was careless. Since she was there I assume there where other children there. Is that really the best time to shoot an animal out in the dark?

    October 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. geewaorker

    anyone from the area online? I think this occurred in freedom PA Just kind of curious on how big the skunks get in that part of the state come on pls answer put down the meth pipe and respond

    October 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
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