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. Reality Checker

    MORE GUNS are the ANSWER!!

    That's the nut-job rationale, right?

    I guess if the little girl had a gun and "stood her ground" she would be ok. Oh right, she didn't realize she had to defend herself against a gun wielding wacko!

    October 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dennis

    Another NRA under Achiever

    October 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe User

    Just like most of the posters here, this guy is a moron and should only be allowed to own a squirt gun.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • BD

      ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?

      A squirt gun is still too dangerous.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. rohug

    WoW some of the readers are absolute morons or have no reading comprehension skills. The child was hiding behind a hill it was dark he saw something white and dark thinking it was a skunk he fired. He was an idiot for firing at something in the dark in that manner absolutely he was wrong. The distance could not have been that great with a shotgun so he should have investigated further no doubt. But to blame all gun owners and demand they all get rid of their guns is idiotic. Car's kill people get rid of them. Knives kill people get rid of them. Fat kills people get rid of all fat in food. People drown get rid of all the water on earth.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • hilreal

      Yes, but cars have a purpose other than killing. What purpose do guns have other than killing something?

      October 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • GAW

      No! the issue is that some people should not own guns.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • bch

      Two to three dozen quests (several possibly children) milling around and someone shoots at something unidentified in the dark...enough said....

      October 22, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • BD

      I wonder if you actually can't see the difference between the things that you've suggested are equivalent or if your just that stupid.

      Guns are a risk to others, water and fatty foods are not (you are going to accidentally kill someone with ribs, I hope).

      Cars fall under the same category as guns but are tightly regulated. The government licenses you a car after written and in-situ testing. They also create laws that govern the manner and situaions in which you can use a car.

      With knives its a bit more difficult, because we don't have different categories of knives under the law its very hard to control their usage. Its hard to argue through that you need a 3 foot machete to cook with but its a valid arguement that its needed to clear brush. That said, a knife, while dangerous, doesn't have the sheer potential for damage that a gun does in most peoples hands.

      Also, what is being suggested isn't that guns be eleminated just that they be more tightly controlled (akin to the license for your car) and the type of gun and manner in which you can use it be restricted (you can't drive an F-1 car on the road or go screaming 200mph down the higheay), similarly; what possible reason is there for a person to be able to purchase a fully automatic rifle or a .50 caliber sniper rifle? Those are the sort of restrictions us "liberals" want in place. You know, the oh-so-unreasonable kind.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Hireal – Ever hear of target shooting? Doesn't require the gun to kill(unless paper tragets or clay pigeons have been defined as living creatures) and is quite fun.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • bch

      also the article says nothing about "white and black"...it mentions "black" twice....

      October 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Scott in Texas

    The NRA..........Killing Americans any way they can.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • BD

      Guns don't kill people, card carrying NRA members kill people.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Guester

    Why would you shoot a skunk to begin with? Seems like every day there is a story about some idiot with a gun doing something stupid.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • bch

      Because during this time of year skunks begin digging under houses; and once they take up residence it is diffiecult to get rid of them (and they stink!).

      However; Two to three dozen quests (several possibly children) milling around and someone shoots at something unidentified in the dark...enough said...

      October 22, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trigger

      That is the narrative the mainstream liberal media wants to portray. The fact is, this idiot should not be allowed to make a decision larger than fries or hashbrowns by himself. He fired a gun at an unknown object, that breaks the first rule of firearm safety. Be bigger than the media reports- this is not the norm. The guns are not the problem, idiots are. Even with draconian restrictions, the idiots and bad guys will still be armed.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BD

    And people still maintain that gun control isn't needed.

    One day people will start to see the NRA and the rest of the gun lobby for the utter wack jobs they are.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I hope that the same people see that the democrat party is full of just as many whack jobs.

      BTW I own guns and would be happy to see a safety requirement fulfilled before purchase.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    The Kennedys have killed more people then my guns.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • hilreal

      But not near as many as Dubya and Cheney......

      October 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. lou50

    average weight of a nine year old is 63 pounds and height is 47 inches. They don't build skunks anywhere that size. This fellow is to stupid to walk free! My guess besides stupid is he needs to wear glasses but is to vain to do so. If his drivers license says to wear glasses then put him in jail for life twice!

    October 22, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    For those of you a little slow on reasoning let me break it down for you.

    1. It would be very easy to confuse the girl as a skunk in the dark. She was wearing a black and white hat with black clothing. She was playing in a bush. The bush hides most if not all of her body with the exception of the hat. The moron shooter may have only seen the black and white hat and said umm looks like a skunk must be a skunk and bang.
    2. Now shooter made a big mistake because he broke every safety rule taught by the NRA and any gun safety class. He didn't know his target and he didn't know what was beyond his target either.
    3. The cops and DA have to investigate before they can file charges and make an arrest. If the file before they have the facts they run the risk of botching the case.
    4. Shooter probably will be charged with reckless discharge of a firearm.
    5. Shooter will likely face civil lawsuit for damages.
    6. Shooter will likely be forced into bankruptcy because of lawsuit mentioned above.
    7. Shooter may or may not see jail time.
    8. If shooter is convicted he will not be able to legally own a firearm in PA or any other state in the union.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      With 2 – 3 dozen guests milling about, absolutely NO ONE should EVER shoot into the dark or anywhere actually.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • sickofit

      Are you serious or just stupid? How about even if it was a skunk, leave it alone. What kind of moron shoots first then asks questions later?

      October 22, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • bch

      Two to three dozen quests (several possibly children) milling around and someone shoots at something unidentified in the dark...enough said....well... also the ariticle does not mention anything about "black and white"...it mentions dressed in black with a black hat....

      October 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      sick of it – Can you comprehend what you read? Did I state the guy was justified? NOPE. I said it would be easy for someone to think a skunk was in the bushes based upon the quasi facts as told in the story.

      Markin – I thought I made the clear when I said he wasn't sure what was beyond his target.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      bch – read my post. Where did I say anyone was justified to shoot?

      October 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MarkinFL

    There are 2 to 3 dozen guests milling about in the area and he shoots into the dark? I hope he actually was drunk because he needs at least that good of an excuse. Some people should not be allowed within a mile of a weapon.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hmmmmm

    Sadly, it sounds like it was accidental.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • rp1588

      The shooting was not accidental. The negligence was deliberate.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • bch

      The man intentially shot at something undidentifed in the dark; that is not accidental.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Larry "O"

    Wow that would of been one big Skunk. This guy was probably drunk as a skunk. Again not Guns that Kill, Idiots Kill!!!!

    October 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sean

    Love thy neighbour, even if they smell funky. How can a counrty fall so far so fast?

    October 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Doug

    Yay guns!

    October 22, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wes Scott

      I would be willing to bet everything I own that the shotgun did not just jump up and fire itself off shooting the little girl. I would be equally willing to bet everything I own that a person who had no business having a firearm in his hands was the one who caused the injuries to the child.

      Why was he shooting at a "skunk" from a great distance away in the first place? Skunks are not inherently bad animals and, in fact, serve a worthwhile purpose in nature. This relative of the child should be charged with whatever violations of laws are appropriate under Pennsylvania law, and his rights to possess firearms should be terminated. Obviously, he lacks the common sense necessary to possess and use firearms. I just hope the child makes a full recovery.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Guns are NOT the issue. Stupid people with guns is the problem. Mentally ill people should not have access to them. There should be a way to ensure these people can't purchase them. All of you people that think guns kill people... you are wrong. Mentally deranged people kill people! If they can't find a gun to do it with, they will use something else to get the job done. Granted, there are accidental shootings... much of this can be prevented with gun safety training. If guns are outlawed, only outlaws (and cops) will have guns. Guns outnumber people in this country. If law-abiding people have their guns taken from them, the criminals will still be able to buy all the guns they want on the streets and it will be open season on us all.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
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