Girl Mistaken for Skunk, Shot by Relative

A girl at a Halloween party Saturday near Pittsburgh was mistaken for a skunk and shot by a relative.

“New Sewickley Township police say the girl was over a hillside and wearing a black costume and a black hat with a white tassel,” according to a Beaver Times story. “Chief Ronald Leindecker told the Beaver County Times that a male relative mistook her for a skunk and fired a shotgun, hitting her in the shoulder, arm, back and neck Saturday night.”

The girl, who was alert and talking, was flown to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, about 30 miles away. The man who fired the shot had not been drinking, according to Leindecker.

One of the first rules of gun safety is “Know your target and what is beyond.” If this simple rule had been followed, this horrible accident would have been avoided. Be safe out there. Think first. Shoot second.

UPDATE (10/25): Charges have been filed against the man who shot the girl.

Thomas Edward Grant, of Jackson Center, Pa., shot his 8-year-old cousin with a 12-gauge shotgun. He thought the girl, who was wearing a black-and-white Halloween costume, was a skunk.

The girl, who was shot once, is still in critical condition with injuries to her shoulder, arm, back and neck, according to a story on

Grant was charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and simple assault.

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