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. the natural

    Why do ya gotta shoot even if i twas a skunk. I can't stand the type of gunner that is like that.

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

      I agree. I own guns for self defense... not to take pot shots at a target that I can't clearly identify.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. joe dokes

    And some people *still* want to cling to their guns like a security blanket they should have outgrown but didn't.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • jon

      Haven't you noticed that the citizens of countries who do not have arms are treated like cattle? When you allow your government to disarm you then you have no way to resist. And don't say protest, we have seen how that works. Protesting is kind of pointless when you are told where you can and can't.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boater

      47% of the citizens in THIS country are treated like cattle, too, and we have guns....

      October 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      You seem to have a short memory, Jon.
      Apparently you managed to forget about George Bush and the so-called "Free Speech Zones". If that still fails to ring a bell, they were special areas where you were allowed to protest, fairly far removed from any venue where the rich and snobbish Republican elite might have to view or - God forbid, listen to - any dissenting opinion.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • biglio

      Jon, the only countries that have as many guns as the US per capita are bastions of civilization like Afghanistan and Somalia and Yemen.....enough said.....

      October 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek

      Jon, I live in a country where we do not all have guns, we have protested quite successfully, we also don't have mistakes like this happen on a nearly daily basis. You do not all need guns and we are no where near relatable to cattle.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff

    The hills of PA?

    October 22, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hadenuffyet

      Southwestern and western PA is pretty hilly..

      October 22, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • vatoloke

      Hills? Duh...in Pennsylvania?, yes. Lotsa hills in Pennsylvania. Ever heard of the Allegheny Mountains?

      October 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • R

      Yep, Pennsyl-tucky

      October 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Long Duk Dong

      vatoloke, you should see the Rocky Mountains some day...Pennsylvania has hills...not mountains...

      October 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Long-duck – Who cares how big your mountains are. I'm sure the Tibetans call your "rocky mountains" hills as well.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Long Duk Dong

      Bill, I am from Tibet. There is no such thing as Tibetan people. We are Chinese. We are one people in one country.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Leucadia Bob


    October 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MM

    What an idiot!

    October 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hadenuffyet

    Why? nothing but an ad.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gary Lee

    An accident would be the gun going off unintentionally. Shooting in the dark at an unknown target!! This is pure negligence and he should be charged. If there are skunks in the area, animal control would come out and set traps. They would make sure the animal is not rabid and then release elsewhere.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daws

      Exactly, well said!

      October 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian P

      Shooting a gun in a residential area And when little kids are having a party?? Mistaken a 4 foot tall girl for a tiny four legged mammal?

      Meth is a helluva drug.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Paramad

    We should have an IQ test to own guns! Having an IQ test to reproduce might run into a few civil liberties problems but it's still a good idea.
    I am a liberal and I own guns and have never had the urge or need to discharge a firearm at any type of party, the guy must have skunkaphobia and hopefully a lobotomy!

    October 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boater

      But then a large percentage of gun nuts would not be able to obtain a gun permit!

      October 22, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Daws

    Being a macho idiot, he could have just as well gotten a skunk trap. Especially if it's a persistent problem. But no he has to make up for his insecurities by shooting things. He should get his gun license taken away. You can lose your car license for stuff like this, why not a gun license?

    October 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Trigger

    The narrative the mainstream liberal media wants to portray is the firearm is the cause of injury or death. 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, and you will be helpless. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • biglio

      In other countries people with that intellectual capabilities (and some that commented here) wouldn't be allowed to own a gun....

      October 22, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • TimeToBeReal

      How do you stop idiots from getting guns without "Gun Control"?

      October 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • bch

      You just made the case for gun control! But I am not certain that was you intention???

      October 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      You keep throwing out gun control but yet define what you mean by control. Stiffer checks and safety requirements will probably get you some support. Bans will not.

      If you liberal would just compromise and not go for the total ban you wouldn't be scaring off so many people.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Sorry, trigger – it doesn't work that way. The false narrative of the gun-promoting right is that "true" gun owners are universally intelligent, exercise good judgement, and in addition to being amateur lawmen, are a breed-apart from those capable of committing crimes. The reality, of course, is that the broad avenues to gun ownership protected by your friends at the NRA ensure that our gun-saturated society puts these things in the hands of the careless, the unscrupulous, the angry, the silly, the temperamental, the irresponsible, and the foolish, alongside the noble paladins of armed citizenship you idealize. The vast majority of gun related deaths in this country have nothing to do with nefarious gang warfare or government takeovers – they involve ordinary citizens killing friends, neighbors, family-members, co-workers, their parents, and their children. It's people like you – ordinary, "law-abiding" folk – and your cousin the skunk-shooter, that scare me.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. GAW

    I have met many gun owners that would seriously lead me to wonder as to why they were approved for ownership.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TheBigSarge

    that must be one heck of a good costume. we need to get the mfg to design military uniforms that blend in, like they did in the 80's and 90's and not that crap grey-green thing the kids wear today.


    October 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Frank

    The relative knew there was a Halloween party on the premises or in the immediate area and saw nothing wrong with firing a gun into darkness or severely limited light.

    Even the standard gun nuts' response that the little girl should have been carrying her own weapon wouldn't have saved a life this time around.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jeast

    Shooting at random "dark figures" in the distance at night is a brilliant thing to do. He should be charged for being an idiot.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. I shoot, therefore I am

    Doh, what an idiot!

    October 22, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
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