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. CJ

    Why is the idiot shooting at "skunks".... He probably kills any animal that walks across his property. Hate him and I don't even know him.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Morgan

    For each person who uses a gun responsibly, there are five more yahoos like Joe Bob here, who end up hurting those they love. I stand amazed at all the yobs yammering about their "Second Amendment rights," turning the blindest eye possible to stories like this one.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • mo

      sounds like a freak accident. very unfortunate. you could bring in the gun debate but i don't think it applies here.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathleen

      I agree with you, Morgan.....And for the poster who talked about rural areas, I had a large farm and many farm animals for decades...never felt the need to shoot any skunks. We even had the rare bear and more often coyote...banging a drum did enough to scare them away and was far safer for all of us. My neighbor shot at a stray dog and missed...and the stray bullet narrowly missed my daughter an acre away and hit my house.....Idiots with guns....Idiots.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • VinceRN

      So only 1 gun owner is six is responsible, the other five are out shooting folks at random? Eighty million gun owners in America you you figure that about 66 million are doing stuff like this? If each of those 66 million did something like this once in fifty years of owning guns that would mean about two such incident a minute. IF just 1% of the incidennt made the news we'd have about thirty such stories a day.

      The truth (as in objective, measurable fact) is that for every yahoo like this clown there are thousands of responsible gun owners, including many of you neighbors, something like one person in every six, and depending on which state you live in there are even many citizens carrying them throughout the day. Folks you nod to in the grocery store, sit next to in the movies, or whatever.

      Not one gun owner in ten thousand ever shoots anyone, so please get over your insane paranoia.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • VinceRN

      Here is how you can tell Kathleen is lying. "An acre away". No one who had ever been on a farm, lived in a rural area, or knew the first thing about anything remotely rural, or about real estate, or math for that matter, would confuse an acre with a measure of distance.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      Morgan, you've got your statistics backwards. For every 5 responsible gun owners in the US, there's one crazy who makes the headlines.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. northerstar

    These were some of the "folks in Pa that hold on to their bibles & their guns close that I will never be able to separate them from either one of" that Obama was referring to during the last election (remember that candide moment !). In this case the gun owner likely owns the gun to kill of rodents and skunks, etc. Unfortunately he violated the first rule of shooting. Dont shoot until you can see clearly what it is what you are shooting at. This is probably not some gun nut that owns a garage full of assult rifles for sport. Just a shotgun for rodent control. Very tragic.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Really?!

    Yah, Right...like every skunk in America is the size of a 9 year old child. Something sure stinks about ths incident, and it isn't the child's costume!

    October 22, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. allison

    I would charge the stuffin' out of him – what was he doing shooting? and how the heck did he mistake the size of a human being for a SKUNK !!! gee whiz – some kind of common sense should have shown itself.

    As I am writing this, I don't know the girl's condition – I hope she is okay –

    October 22, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. independent

    And some people defend the right to shoot anyone at all, as long as they look like and animal.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Three 50

    A man who had not been drinking shoots a 9 year old, and the first comment I see posted is about his gun oermit?! You moron! My first thought was that this idiot better be facing life in prison for attempted murder, intentional or not. I'm neither for nor against guns, but I am totally for accountability. Justice had better be served here. Leave your political views to yourselves. eek justice for a kid who was victimized and nearly KILLED.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rfa1231

    First off, why did this guy even feel the need to shoot a skunk?!? Dumb rednecks and their guns.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. pooh2

    In Europe there are far less shooting accidents and gun violence. Far less. Does it have something to do with gun control? Just an idea...

    October 22, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. avid reader

    all the comments about the person who did the shooting and so few for the little girl. Focus your thoughts on her getting better folks!

    October 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. HenryMiller

    "Police will determine later Monday whether they will charge the shooter, whom they did not name."

    He should be charged with abject stupidity, if nothing else.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JZG

    IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET BEFORE YOU SHOOT!!! NUMBER TWO RULE OF GUNS!! (after don't be an idiot with your firearm)

    October 22, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Irish

    Ultimately, I will own a gun. I will exercise my Second Amendment rights. However, unlike this idiot, I will actually take the time to learn proper firearm safety. In the end, you can make all the arguments for guns or against them, but idiots and criminals will still be idiots and criminals. Look at Great Britain; through extreme gun control they have lowered the amount of shootings, both purposeful and accidental, but the number of stabbings and blunt-force-weapon related crimes have increased tremendously. As I have stated, the idiots and criminals will find new ways to be idiots and criminals no matter how many laws you pass against it.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • guy98

      Completely agree, couldn't have been put any better!

      October 22, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • IQs needed

      Except this idiot probably would have realized it was a girl instead of a skunk if he had a baseball bat in his hand instead of a gun. Seriously, if this isn't a prime example on why not everyone should have a gun, I can't imagine a better one.

      Don't give me your Great Britian line. No one is saying the world isn't more violent. It is. But it's about how much damage one violent person can do.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Loyal Northern Democrat

    Next time he will know better that skunks do not smell like rotten fish.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Minerva

    I wonder if the guy was drunk. I mean I could understand if he misstook a cat for a skunk but a nine year old is a whole lot bigger. I am a city dweller and even I know that. It's not a matter of owning firearms, it's a matter of who should own firearms. And the fact that this idiot felt that he had to kill something that, even if it was a skunk, wasn't doing him any harm anyway. What a jerk.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
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