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. Ash

    Population control in US!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 23, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. Akahn

    I hope they not only charge him with attempted murder, but also attempted animal cruelty. What a complete idiot. Live and learn I guess. At least the skunk was unharmed...

    October 23, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. wow

    No kidding this happens in western pennsylvania......hillbilly idiot

    October 23, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. belky

    I have never in my life seen a skunk the size of a nine year old girl!

    October 23, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • gale

      Furthermore, he had to be crazy to shoot a gun with a party full of kids anywhere near him. But really a skunk that big? He must live in some more scary place.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. MomentisMan

    Skunks carry rabies. When skunks openly come around humans, there is a very good chance they are infected. If you don't live in the country you would not understand, so save me the "poor skunk" line.

    That being said, this moron had NO clear idea what he was shooting. He did not positively identify his target and is therefore grossly negligent in shooting the child. He should never, ever be allowed to own a gun again in his life.

    October 23, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jack

    Yay!! Guns for everyone!

    October 23, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. Riverweasel

    Yeah, so you're in the mountains and the first thing that comes to your mind when you see a skunk is "Ermahgahd! Imma firing mah lazers (well, shotgun here)?

    Either a rather sad excuse for a human or an even sadder excuse for a human. Sounds more like someone was holding a grudge. Mistaking a nine-year old for a skunk...even my grandfather couldn't make me believe that.

    October 23, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  8. swipedcard

    Gun owners are utter cowards. It's ironic, but the ones clamoring for the guns are exactly the ones who shouldn't be near one. They shoot, then ask questions. This is the 3rd accidental child shooting that I've read about in the past couple of months. A man shot his 15 year old son, thinking he was an intruder, and another shot his 3 year old granddaughter, claiming he was "aiming at a cat."

    October 23, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • tacc2

      That's a very sweeping generalization. Accidents happen. It's unfortunate, but that's life. I accept that in a free society where gun ownership is permitted, some people will accidentally be killed. Just like I accept that in a free society that permits private car operation, some people are going to die in accidents.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I am not a coward. I am a prepared individual than can protect my family in the time of need.

      1. The police are not required to defend you.

      2. it takes 7 to 10 minutes for the police to arrive on scene after a 911 call in a city. Much longer in rural areas. If you want to rely on 911 to save you that's your choice. Mine is to have a dog, alarm system and a firearm to protect my family..

      3. If there is ever a wide spread disruption in the food and water supply for any extended period of time. The police force will collapse and lawlessness will rule. Don't believe me. Look at the aftermath of Katrina. Every family should have some sort of plan in place to deal with this situation. 2 weeks of water and food are a good idea. 4 weeks better, 3 months golden. Again this is my choice but don't expect a handout because you didn't prepare.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sylvia

    Exactly what i was thinking too, but for now, this man should be charged. How dare he shoot an innocent "skunk?" That is utter cruelty.

    October 23, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. Wilton33305

    I hope the child pulls through, Very Sad.. On the other hand the man that shot her should be held responsible, There was a children's party close by and he decides to whip out a gun and shoot something at night Really? People need to use common sense when owning a fire arm.

    October 23, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. Matthew

    Average Height of a nine year old female (4 foot 6 inches)
    Average Height of a skunk (2 feet 1 inch)

    This is absolutely the most ridiculous thing i've ever heard about.
    Why would you shoot a gun with dozens of guests around & into the dark because you think you see a 4 and a half foot skunk? Granite, maybe it was an honest mistake, i have met some senseless people in life. Try to get a little common sense, and maybe try acting responsible around children.

    October 23, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • srsly

      Granite? Granite???

      October 23, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Huh

      Matthew, "granite"? The word you're looking for is "granted".

      October 23, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dave

    Clearly we need more guns. That little girl should have been armed.

    October 23, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. SPENT

    This story has a strong aroma.

    October 23, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ruth A Farella

    ATTENTION: Please do not wear the black clothes or Halloween Skunk clothes. Please wear something very light colors only. Thank you and be very careful. Smile.

    October 23, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. Pro-Gun

    The gun is not the problem here...just plain old stupidity. If the skunk was on a hill while kids were around who in their right mind would pull out their gun and shoot at something as harmless, yet stinky, as a skunk without making sure the kids were out of the way first?

    October 23, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Not that I am defending him in any way, but, skunks are far from harmless. They are one of the largest carriers of rabies and can be very dangerous. If I saw one show up near a kids party, I would most definetly move the kids inside and shoot it. However, I would never, ever shoot at anything I couldn't positively identify. I was raised with guns and that was always one of the most important rules, never shoot at what you can't see.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
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