Girl Mistaken for Skunk Shot by Relative in Pa., No Charges Filed

'How Could No Charges Be Filed?' Ask Locals; Police Investigation Ongoing

A girl mistaken for a skunk was shot by a relative in western Pennsylvania Saturday night. The 9-year-old's Halloween costume deceived the man, but locals question why no charges have currently been filed.

The girl was mistaken for a skunk that night because her trick-or-treating outfit consisted of an all-black getup with a white tassel atop her black hat. A male relative spotted her away from the two to three dozen guests at the New Sewickley Township party. Because the sun was set, he could not see the figure clearly, and mistook her for an animal.

The man then used his shotgun, firing and hitting the child in the neck, back, shoulder, and arm, Officer Greg Carney told WPTV. The figure was revealed not as a skunk, but his young relative. Authorities have not released the names of those involved, nor how the man was related to the 9-year-old girl.

"I believe that that this man was drunk or high," BCB posted on The Beaver County Times blog. "But since it is a small town ( born and raised here) I believe that [police] knew this man and possibly left anything about alcohol out of their reports. … this story doesn't make sense."

The girl survived the incident, and was alert when medical services arrived, Chief Ronald Leindecker told The Beaver County Times. She was airlifted to UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, about 30 miles from New Sewickley Township. Her condition is still currently unknown as of Monday morning.

Though police are still investigating and collecting statements, they have determined that the man had not been drinking when he fired on the girl. It is unknown if charges will be filed.

Local police will turn the case over to the district attorney's office, which may be fortunate for the shooter; if locals had their way, he might not be so lucky.

"Sounds pretty suspicious to me," a user identified only as "nurse" agreed. "How could no charges be filed. What about reckless endangerment! … Praying for the poor child."

"What kind of idiot has a loaded shotgun [at] a childrens [sic] Halloween party?" Watch Dog wrote.