ROCHESTER, Pa. (AP) — Police say a Pennsylvania woman shined a flashlight for her son to help him shoot what they thought was a skunk but was really his 8-year-old cousin in a black-and-white Halloween costume.
The girl was hospitalized Monday in critical condition following Saturday night's shooting in Rochester, a rural area just northwest of Pittsburgh where hunting is common.
New Sewickley Township police say the girl was over a hillside and wearing a black costume and a black hat with a white tassel. Chief Ronald Leindecker says the woman told officers she was hosting a Halloween party when she heard there was a skunk nearby and asked her son to shoot it.
The Beaver County Times reports the chief says 24-year-old shooter Thomas Grant is "devastated" by what happened. No one answered the door of the Grant house Monday afternoon. No charges have been filed.
Leindecker told the newspaper that the girl was alert and talking when she was flown to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, about 30 miles away. The shotgun blast hit her in the shoulder, arm, back and neck.
Leindecker says Grant hadn't been drinking and he doesn't know whether charges will be filed. New Sewickley police said Sunday that decision will be made in a few days.
A neighbor says neither Grant nor his family had ever caused problems.
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