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. Han

    Shooting while under influence should have more severe sentencing and punishment than DUI.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • tct

      The really sad part is he was sober, this is as bright as he gets.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michael

    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. (Also part of the narrative: those who use guns inappropriately are "criminals," a unique species, with whom we are at war.) 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. I'm more afraid of being shot by a regular guy having a bad day – or a regular guy mistaking me for a skunk – than I am of being attacked by "criminals" or the UN.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Absolutely, Areyouserious. I have no idea why you're resorting to cheap ad hominims (whiney sissy? adulterous?), rather than engaging me like a mature adult. The studies verifying my point are widepsread, and come from both academic and government sources: >>> A team led by Dr. Arthur Kellermann of Emory University conducted a survey of 388 homes that had experienced homicides. They found that 76.7 percent of the victims were killed by a spouse, family member or someone they knew, and there was no forced entry into the home 84.3 percent of the time. Strangers comprised only 3.6 percent of the killers. However, the killer was never identified in 17.4 percent of the cases. (New England Journal of Medicine). >>> According to the Dept of Justice (data between 1975 and 2005), only about 13% of homicides are committed by strangers, as opposed to 33% committed by friends/acquaintances, and 15% by family members.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Diane

    A 9 year old is MUCH bigger than a freakin skunk!

    October 22, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ralph

    Someone should call Pepe Le Prosecutor....

    October 22, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tracy

    Why would anyone pull a gun out at a halloween party where there are tons of kids running around?? WHY ? makes no sense

    October 22, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sarah

    First of all prayers and a healthy recovery to this little girl. Second, I don't care how far away she was; who the hell has ever known of, let alone actually seen a skunk that could be mistaken for a human being?! If you are taking a shot at an animal know your target and beyond. You don't just go outside and fire your shotgun down the street! What a f*!king idiot!!!!

    October 22, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jenny L

      Thank you Sarah. What an idiot indeed!! I was sick reading this story. Who does sh** like this? It was a Halloween party, he didn't even think this could have been a kid or something he shouldn't be shooting at. That's the problem, he didn't think and now has to live with what he did. Prayers to her family.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • skunkman

      Technically, the skunk was not mistaken for the human, it was the other way around.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bob

    So this guy "Cheneyed" the poor girl huh?

    October 22, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rob

    Drunk as a skunk... with a gun...

    October 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. HK

    The shooter must have horrible eyesight beside having the worst judgment.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Wildernessyes

    Now there are some gun smarts. It is getting pretty clear to me that most everyone buying a gun lately clearly are ignorant and should not possessing such a weapon. Guns are a menace and they need to go. They should be collected and made into comfortable park benches for our elderly to sit on.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Brian

    IQ test for gun owners.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jenn

    They said on the radio it was her uncle. He should def be charged. Didn't he realize that was a huge skunk. I hope the little girl can recover.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Reality Check

    Once again, guns do not kill people.

    It is people with guns that kill people, with guns. Outlawing people is the only solution here.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Robert

    I am a 2nd amendment suporter! Prosacute him!

    October 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mordac

    A "well regulated militia"?

    October 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
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