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. d

    Can't wait til it comes out the shooter was a doctor.

    October 23, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Paul

    Why is it necessary to shoot a skunk that was far away? What danger did it pose? I don't know what laws govern the shooter's dangerous behavior but there should be some consequences for doing something so reckless and so unnecessary.

    October 23, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. Me

    Who da skunk now hmm?

    October 23, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. Pro Death

    Pennsylvania must have some big damn skunk's for a 9 year old to be mistaken for one

    October 23, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. jenny jones

    That's exactly what happens in a gun culture. Vote for the NRA people. You get what you deserve.

    October 23, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • tony

      That is karma. He should deserve a long jail term.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      So are you off screaming at the booze and auto industry. We have 1000's of death a year because people drink and then drive.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Spoken like a true liberal. You make me sick. The NRA didn't cause this, the gun didn't cause this. It was the stupidity of the guy that caused this accident.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      Oh no! Ms. Anti NRA doesn't like us anymore.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. Winfred W

    That is a typical response from an idiot, white people have been shooting their hunting partners for years.

    October 23, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bill D.

    One of the basic rules of gun safety – never aim the firearm until you have 100% identified your target. Geesh!!!

    October 23, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. conscious citizen

    Skunks carry rabies. So do dogs and cats and a whole bunch of other animals. It is a myth that skunks that come close to humans are infected with rabies. People just use this as justification for firing their guns. After all, what fun is it to have a gun if you don't get to shoot it. And it sounds like the "skunk" in this case was not even close enough to be identified.

    October 23, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kay

    I don't understand the reasoning of saying that more people die in car accidents or by smoking, etc. than by guns and implying that we don't need to concern about this kind of accidents. No matter how many people die, these need to be stopped. We cannot simply ignore it because small number of people, including kids, die...

    October 23, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • CDel

      29,569 gun deaths in the U.S-2004
      about 400,000 die a year in the U.S from smoking related causes...wait a second.. That's just smoking? Who doesn't have the reasoning now.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  10. conscious citizen

    Mosquitoes carry West Nile Virus.

    Where are all those gun slingers when you really need 'em?

    October 23, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. siculari

    Look how many people here defend the shooter, not condemn him for his careless action. Shooting at skunk? In the dark? With children around? What if it's a dog. Oh wait it's worse, it's a girl!

    October 23, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. Sue

    This would ALMOST make some sort of sense if the fool had been carrying a hand gun and no one knew he had it. But why would he EVER need a shotgun at a party? And why would it be okay with the parents of the kids for him to have it there? And what idiot needs a shotgun for a skunk? This is NOT what our fore fathers meant when they wrote 'the right to keep and bear arms'.

    October 23, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      The problem isn't the gun it's stupidity and sadly America is full of stupid people. All men aren't created equal. Some are smart, some have the potential to learn and do, some have the potential to learn but don't and others well are just plain dumb.Sad thing is that dumb people are having more children than smart people. What else do we expect when we reward stupid behavior. We should be rewarding model behavior.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. james

    mama; you should do more research about where these holidays come from.

    October 23, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  14. John

    Since you use the name "Dan MacGoo", does that mean that you are one of the Celtic people whose gun should be taken away?

    Seriously, there is nothing in the news article to indicate the ethnicity of the people involved; every ethnic group has its share of smart people and stupid people. Anyone who would fire into the bushes while children are playing hide-and-seek definitely falls into the "stupid people" category.

    October 23, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bill

    1. It was dark, the kid was wearing black and there were bushes. It stands to reason that a 65lb girl well camouflaged with clothing, bushes and lack of light could have been mistaken for a 9 lb animal. Read point 2 before you call me names.
    2. The guy broke 2 of the most important safety rules. Know your target and what is beyond the target. He made a huge mistake by firing and should be held accountable for his actions. He is an irresponsible firearm owner and should lose his ability to possess a firearm.
    3. The people on here calling the guy derogatory names are no different than those people that they despise.
    4. Not all republicans are firearm owners
    5. Millions of democrats own firearms
    6. Not all firearm owners belong or believe in the NRA
    7. The NRA has plenty of democrats as members.
    8. Banning all firearms will not work. (how did that work for Alcohol and drugs).
    9. Requiring firearm owners to complete mandatory safety instruction prior to purchasing a first firearm is a good idea that many firearm owners would support. I know I would
    10. The police are not required to defend you.
    11. 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.

    October 23, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • victoria

      If kids are running around for Halloween, then it's definitely not the right night to be shooting unidentified objects far away in bushes.

      Seriously, that guy is an idiot guilty of manslaughter.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Take it easy, Bill....

      We get it...you owns a gun and likes to shoots stuff...yee hah.
      Before you post a list of your superior way of thinking that we all need to abide by, check it. Your 3rd point – saying people should not be using derogatory names – kind of falls flat when just above you respond to someone "Spoken like a true Liberal".
      Really, Billy Boy??

      October 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      @take it easy – Well obviously you can't read. I clearly stated it was my opinion and nowhere do I say I like to shoot things. Since when is liberal a derogatory term? Redneck, hillbilly, white trash are.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Becky

      For some reason, you remind me of someone I know named Bill. Do you live in Northern Michigan, perchance?

      October 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimdog33

      All your points noted, #2 is the key here.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • laura

      I am figuring that in #1 you are being sarcastic because you cannot believe someone could mistake a 65lb girl for skunk. I don't care what she was wearing. When he knew he was at a halloween party with CHILDREN your first instinct should not be shoot it!

      October 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • mcskadittle

      so banning fire arms will not work because alcohol and drugs didn't work, using those examples mean people would make their own guns?

      October 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      Very well said!

      October 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • bch

      Bill, I happy to see that you have amened you original postingof this.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • bch

      Apparently I can't type today.

      Bill, I am happy to see that you have amended your original posting of this. Now we are actually in agreement.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • You Mom

      I have on point.

      1. My unmitigated right for me or my family to walk around free from threat or harm trumps anyone else's privilege to own a consumer item.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • ag

      HOw about the most obvious way to protect yourself from a skunk – LEAVE IT ALONE and go inside!

      October 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      @laura – I am not being sarcastic. I'm being realistic. It's not hard to imagine that a kid 50 or so ft away wearing a dark outfit and playing near bushes could be camouflaged enough to be mistaken for a 9 lb skunk. My black dog with white patches on his underside (at 50 lbs) can go into the bushes 20 feet away in my back yard and become invisible to the human eye. It's common sense really.

      October 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      mcskadittle – Really? Pick up a history book. Prohibition created a large black market and plenty of violence where innocent lives were lost. The drug war has resulted in a large violent black market that is responsible for much of the gun violence in America. Ask Mexico about the violence related to the drug war.

      Believe me, if guns are banned a huge violent black market will occur and yes people will make their own guns. My gunsmith has 2 machines that can make just about any gun I want.

      October 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
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