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. Bill

    You're no different than a racist with that comment. Your mother must be proud to have raised such a wonderful bigot.

    October 23, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. victoria

    How big did that idiot think a skunk is? Seriously!

    I sure hope that poor little girl is ok 🙁

    October 23, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. george1911

    What an idiot! He did not pass the test to live, be a parent, gun owner, etc.... Time to lock him up and throw away the key!

    October 23, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. wellen

    This is simply a sad strory manifest from a gun culture. The idea that" people kill people not guns" is the tune of a simplistic idiot. People indeed kill people. And they can effectively kill them much easier with guns. Oh by the wau NRA people they can kill them on a massive scale if they use semi automatic assault rifles, or even 50 cal sniper rifles which can be purchsed by any idiot without a criminal record at a gun show. If people kill people as we all agree, at leat make them use a knife otr a bat. Perhaps they will hesitate at that prospect of real hand to hand carnage as opposed to simply pulling a trigger. Innocent little girls being shot are the result of your gun culture. The NRA cares only that you buy guns, not for the innocents that die. Every single day. You are all responsible for this little girl and every other tragic case of gun abuse in your country. You should all be ashamed.
    The rest of the world considers America a complete joke that you have let the NRA highjack your country on behalf of gun manufacturers and ammunition makers.
    Oh and by the way America you are the largest exporter of weapons to other nations, so they too can kill each other. Oh and just so the gun manufacturers and military machine could continue to increase profits, you allowed your government to illegally invade a sovereign nation, Iraq, where hundreds of thousands have died and will continue to die. But at least your weapons manufactuers and engineering and construction firms like bectal and halliburton made some dough right?
    America. When are you going to wake up?

    October 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jess

      I fail to understand how you possibly come to the conclusion that all we "are all responsible for this little girl and every other tragic case of gun abuse in your country" I am not responsible for his stupidity, just because I own a gun. Just like a car, plenty of people drive cars and do stupid, dangerous things with them. And, when they kill someone, is everyone who owns a car at fault? Not everyone who owns a gun uses it in an irresponsible manner, we just like to focus on the instances when people do.

      October 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      @jess – Do you really need to ask an obvious liberal how he/she could blame us all for this tragedy? Don't you know to a liberal it's never the fault of an individual.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cindy

    Put the shooter behind bars. This person meant to kill. I hope this young person will recover, and never attend any event if the shooter will be there.

    October 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Martin

    If CNN can't update this story with more facts, how the girl is doing, etc., then they should take it off their website!!!

    October 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ignorance

    "If you ban guns, only outlaws will have guns." If someone goes on a shooting spree I know damn sure I want someone around who can increase the chance of stopping the shooter. If you ban guns then only those who use them for harm will obtian them and then we become fish in a barrel with 0% chance of stopping the assailant. But its ok, most of you anti gun advocates pee sitting down(men included).

    October 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      I am sure you meant what you said but I carry a weapon for security and to protect my family and I "pee sitting down" as many of the women I know that also carry and a lot of us also served in the US Forces. We are not dependant on a "big strong man" to protect us. Remember, Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • KL

      The problem with your logic is that if a shootout ensues then many more innocent people will be killed. With the Aurora shooting the shooter had body armor on and was using an semi-automatic weapon. It's a bit dangerous poking your head out to get a bead a guy shooting 50-60+ rounds a minute.

      We have to stop with the knee jerk reactions and have a serious discussion about how we deal with the gun issue. The problem is that the NRA is so powerful that any discussion, even just to talk about the problem, is completely out of the question.

      Unfortunately these kinds of tragedies will continue to happen until the grown ups in the room speak up.

      October 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. you kidding?

    Whenever I host a 9 year old costume party I make sure to weapons handy to shoot any small animals that might approach the house. There's nothing more soothing and relaxing for a bunch of 9 year olds then watching insane adults shoot and kill animals.... they say he wasn't drinking, but was he mentally competent?

    "Do your research. And I’m going to use an oldie but goodie here…more people die in accidental car crashes, smoking and obesity than by guns"

    Except, this girl was shot with a gun at a Halloween party, and that's what's being discussed. She wasn't injured by her weight, she wasn't likely smoking, and she wasn't hit by a car in the woods.

    October 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dawn

    This guy needs to be charged. How irresponsible could you be? This guy was probably intoxicated or something else at the time. Guns and alcohol don’t mix. And the excuse of mistaking the girl for a skunk is complete BS! Why not a dog? A cat? IF he could see good enough to think what he was shooting at was a skunk instead of another animal, then he could tell if it was a person or not. The statement he gave the police thinking it was a SKUNK?!? Come on. He pulled that out of thin air. This is not a gun control issue. Anyone defending this guy is a fool. He should be charged hands down. His actions were so irresponsible.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    This is why America needs better gun control. Guns in the hands of paranoid, trigger happy morons is a recipe for disaster. Here is yet another example.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. davidloc

    This dimbulb probably even felt bad for a minute after he shot the little girl. You know he started blaming the parents for the shooting as soon as he calmed down though. You are , of course, going to get people calling this a tragic accident. It was not an accident , he meant to kill the target and almost did, no accident.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ag

    Incredible stupidity. Who needs to carry around a shotgun at a kids' party, anyway? And, so what if a skunk showed up? Honestly, if you're that afraid of animals that you have to shoot every one you see, move to a city and stay inside.

    Yes, yes, skunks can have rabies. So what? So, don't go out and try to pet the poor thing. Leave it alone, let the other guests know "hey, I think there's a skunk over there – stay away from those bushes" – simple enough. NO one gets sprayed, no one gets bitten, and even better, no one gets shot.

    How many times has this idiot shot his neighbors' pets by mistake, too? (If it really was a mistake.)

    The article said he wasn't drinking - maybe, but he was stupid enough without alcohol.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RustyHinges8

    Isn't this what the cops used to say in east L.A.?

    October 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Shouldnthavehappened

    Firing a gun in an area where children are attending a halloween party is wreckless and negligent! This person should at least be charged with some kind of negligence and should be held responsible for the childs medical bills. Unbelievable!

    October 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • jellylee1970

      Tell that to NRA and the Republican party.

      October 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom the Other One

      I’m no fan of the NRA but they have always pushed for reasonability in gun owners. I am a democrat and I support your right to bear arms.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Soda Bob

      What does this have to do with the NRA or the Republican party? This is an issue of someone making a very poor choice, not an issue of rights. Any responsible gun owner or hunter knows you need to be 100% of your target and what is beyond it before even pointing the gun. He didn't. As in any free society, he should be held responsible for his actions; we should not, in contrast, punish those who did nothing wrong just because a few idiots aren't responsible or decide to hurt others on purpose. That's the mentality of my grade school teacher, who would take away recess from everyone just because a few children were talking. But we're talking about free adults here, not children. We are a free country where self determination and self government should be the rule of thumb.

      But regardless, the 2nd Amendment is a protection of each individual's right to own and carry arms. Period. It's not about hunting, and not about target shooting, but about having the right to own and carry the means of protecting your family, friends, community, and nation. As Jefferson said, I'd rather deal with the evils of too much freedom, than the evils of not enough...

      October 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bull

      Pennsylvania State Police look into this type thing slow and sure.You can bet , in the end,somebody will pay . That being said ,I live in the Pocono Mountains.The LAST thing I'd shoot at would be a skunk ! There's more to this story. PSP will get
      to the bottom of it.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Micchelle

      It's just sad that people associate this directly to the NRA & Republican party. This is the fault of an irresponsible person that discharged a gun at a children’s party for a SKUNK! Was the skunk mauling someone? I think there needs to be charges in this case... personal accountability seems to be lost on many... I guess this comes from a society always looking to blame others for their own problems & actions.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      This has nothing to do with NRA. I suppose jellylee1970 that the next time someone crashes their Chevy car into an oncoming vehicle we should ban all Chevys from the roadways.

      October 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Well said Soda Bob! Too many people have forgotten what real freedom is.

      We're taking away large soda, salt, fat, tobacco, etc. all in the name of protecting the individual from making their own choice. We're dumbing down education because no child can be left behind. (face it folks some children are just dumb). We're punishing success because everyone isn't. I'm made to look terrible because I make 200k and don't want to pay more tax than the 55k I already pay(fed, fica, state, local, real estate). I can't wait to see my tax bill when my options vest. My dad's dad was a coal miner in VA, My Dad a CEO, I'm working hard to get ahead. Yet I am evil.

      Many in today's America are fine with being told what to do and how to do it. Funny thing is, the free thinkers of the 60's and 70's are now the ones pushing for more control. So much for the free love!

      Wake up people. Our freedoms are evaporating daily.

      October 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katherine

      This "person" (for lack of better words) has no business firing a gun, anywhere at all. If you don't have guns, then you can't fire them and they can't kill you. Just that simple.

      October 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jess

      Soda Bob you have said it right on! And Katherine, it is not "just that simple". You see, if we make guns illegal to own, they are not just going to disappear off the face of the earth. Even if they did, people would just adapt and find better ways to kill each other. And, since I use my firearm in a responsible manner, than I have every right to own the damn thing.

      October 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. HELP

    I weep for humanity.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
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