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. Wupper

    These are the idiots that should not be even NEAR a gun.
    Someone should devise an "idiot" test for owning a gun.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. PK

    Poor girl...will pray she pulls through. Meanwhile...what a moron...take his gun and shove it up his rectum.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. ron

    Fact is, kids shouldn't dress in black for Haloween, or if they do, they should have bright fluorescent marker tape on their costume, to flag them. There have been campaigns against this for years, just because so many have been hit by cars in the past.

    A kid, in black, at night, and some of these people want the poor guys skin. Think how he feels about what has happened. Where were her parents, to allow a young child to wander unattended, at night?

    I would also note, being a country boy, that when real skunks normally avoid people, but when they get close to humans. it is usually because they are RABID, and very dangerous. I do agree it is really stupid to shoot at anything you can not see clearly, and shooting at night without an immediate need, is a boneheaded move.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • ron

      Soory, typo. Should say, 'that real skunks normally avoid people'

      October 22, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • ron

      Perhaps if you actually read what I wrote, Damian, you would have seen that I said that.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben Rivera

      Dude Halloween has been around for a long time and there is no need for a kid to wear lights at a party. The nimrod had zero excuse to shoot near humans and as for rabid skunks yeah maybe but you just get a few shots if you have a run in and its done. Stupid human and yeah he should feel miserable AND get time in jail.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • xeno

      This poor guy? The kid shouldn't have been wearing black? Seriously?

      October 22, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      Ron.....good point .

      October 22, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • ron

      Fine Ben. Let me ask you if you would let yours kids wander around the streets in black, to get candy for Haloween, or any other night? It is not safe. AS I stated, there have been campaigns for many, many years, to try to get parents to NOT allow their kids to wear black clothing or costumes for Haloween, or to at least put bright marker tape on their costumes to help flag them. And, if you are planning on letting your small kids dress in black, and don't keep them in your view, I hope you do not also have a tragic outcome.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • No Surprise

      Fact is, you shouldn't be firing into the darkness with a shot gun when there are children around – until you account for all the children. Deatly force on a a skunk? Really? How f-ing stupid do you have to be?

      October 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • GAW

      Now are you the type of guy that would say "Well that girl shouldn't have been wearing that miniskirt"

      October 22, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • bch

      Apparently, you are in the same league as the person who shot this child. Two three dozen guests (several possibly children) milling around and someone shoots at something unidentified in the dark.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • bch

      Valid point about not being in all black at Halloween. I defenitely comment you on that.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • uckermanf

      As soon as I read you are trying to blame a 9 yr. old kid for wearing a black costume on Halloween, I stopped reading. Nothing else you would have had to say after this has any relevance.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. NateFromIndiana

    Doubly sad for this little girl is that she shares DNA with her numb-skulled shooter.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. T

    HOW do you mistake something the size of a 9 year old girl for a tiny creature like a skunk? That makes no sense. You couldn't even mistake a 2 year old for a skunk.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Cheese Wonton

      Consider this knucklehead keeps a shotgun handy when kids are playing and then fires it without knowing where all the kids are. A skunk has more brains than this fool.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Damian

    And I'm sorry but how stupid was he! The girl was 9 ......so I am guessing she is about 20 times the size of your average skunk. Too many stupid people have guns...........all we ever here are how guns are used to kill people in mass shootings or stupid incidences like this. When do we ever here that a civilian used a gun to save a life? NEVER!

    October 22, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That’s because it doesn’t make for as good a story you sheep. Do your research… there are entire websites dedicated to people that defended themselves or others. Whatever side you state on at least educate yourself and stop being part of the problem.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • eric

      Buddy your not ever going to hear of a gun used to save someones life on CNN, looking for positive gun stories on CNN is like looking for church pamphlets congratulating priests on coming out of the closet. Lets use a little common sense here.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • angryersmell

      It happens all the time. Last year a women defended herself and her baby against two armed intruders looking to settle a score with her husband. Those stories just don't fit the narrative of the crazies who want to ban them, or the crazies who want everyone to carry uzis everywhere they go, so you don't hear about them as often.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Actually, they are used quite often. Remember the addage of journailism: If it bleeds, it leads. The media only plays on the bad. Also, there are all those "non-instances" where simply being in a heavily armed area that you won't hear about crime. I live in Virginia, one of the most heavily armed populations within the US. Crime is very low here.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Antiquity

      maybe you should try googleing the phrase "concealed carry saves" or maybe one of a million other combinations and variations of it? It's sad that bleeding leading stories in the news have colored your opinion of guns so negatively.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Cheese Wonton

      Four armed and trained cops were killed in a Seattle area coffee house by a single gunman, and the gun bozos persist in this myth that they can defend themselves while out in the public if only they could carry a loaded gun everywhere. Those four cops had loaded guns, and more reloads on them, wearing body armor too, and even still four of them could not avoid being killed by a single determined gunman who had the drop on them.
      Unless you are going to walk around all day locked and loaded, pointing your gun at everyone you meet, it is futile to think you can somehow protect yourself while out and about with a concealed weapon. If a crook wants to kill you, you won't have warning. At home, yeah, it can make sense since it's your turn and the bad guy might not realize you are up and armed. But out in public you do not have that advantage.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack 3

      To me the only reason to own a gun is to protect yourself against another human. Most animals won't break into your house and assult your family. Humans do all the time.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. zaina

    Some poor kid has to pay for this dolt's right to bear arms. I'm not entirely against regulated gun ownership but what was this fool doing with a handgun at a party? This is the third 'idiot/nut maims with gun' news story I've read in two days on CNN, there should be a stringent mental health check before you get a gun, you should have to renew your firearm licence yearly and there should probably be IQ and vision tests as well.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      It was shotgun, not a handgun.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      A relative spotted the dark figure in the distance, mistook it for a skunk and fired his SHOTGUN.

      I could say more but I think my point was made.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • geroge

      The article said shotgun not handgun. I would assume he lived there and it is not unusual to have a shotgun. I agree, too many idiots in this country guns. I am all for gun control.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Yea, you said it all. He was shooting at the "dark figure." Its a good thing no blacks were invited to the party.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • notayankee

      Don't they have all the tests you are asking for, for getting a driver's license? Yet over 40,000 people are killed each year in car crashes.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. cWhatsNew

    Too many guns used too freely, if not evilly, and definitely not for self-defense as a last resort.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. pmn

    Very strange. Come on..the guy must have been drinking. There is a bunch of people at a Halloween party at a house and he his waving a gun shooting at apparent animals. He was not even sure what he was aiming at. I know the size of a skunk is about a quarter size of a nine year old dressed in black or not. So whatever judgment he had was way, way off. I pray the girl makes it out of ICU.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. angryersmell

    Loons who want to make everything from guns to power tools illegal see this story and cringe. Responsible gun owners look at this story and cringe. Please, charge this man with gross stupidity. For his punishment, he should be beaten with his shotgun until both he and the gun are broken. Otherwise, he won't learn anything.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ben


    October 22, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. mdbill

    why you want to shoot the skunk anyways? just to shoot something? DA

    October 22, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • notayankee

      Because skunks eat chickens, and other domestic creatures, carry rabies and distemper and will bite dogs and children.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • dawn

      We have many skunks around our place. We've never had our chickens, dogs, cats, children, etc. injured or diseased by a skunk. I wasn't even aware they were around until my dog provoked them and got sprayed. He deserved it.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. Poltergiest

    Way to protect the fam dead eye.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    That is what happens when these right wing loonies cling to guns and religiion. Their lives stink up everything. But I hope the poor girl pulls through.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Wow....so from the above story you summed up the political leanings of the shooter. Way to go troll.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. Canadian Hobo

    Americans are some of the smartest people on earth

    October 22, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
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