Halloween Tragedy: Young Girl Mistaken for Skunk, Shot at Party

Shannon Turgeon, News Editor

An eight year old New Sewickley Township girl underwent surgery on October 20 after being shot at a Halloween party. The shooter, twenty four year old Thomas Grant, reportedly mistook his costumed cousin for a skunk, according to Foxnews.com

The girl, whose identity has not been released, was hit in the shoulder, arm, back, and neck. She underwent surgery at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and was said to be in critical condition on October 22.

New Sewickley Township police stated that the girl was dressed in a black costume with a white tassel.

Janet Grant, who hosted the Halloween gathering, said that someone told her there was a skunk nearby on the night of the party, according to the Beaver County Times. Grant then asked her son, Thomas Grant, to shoot the animal. “There were reports of a skunk in the area. It was bothering the partygoers. He went and got a shotgun, using a flashlight, and shot something over the hill,” New Sewickley police chief Ron Leindecker told WPXI. Family members also said that they had recently been struggling with a skunk problem.

Thomas Grant was sober when he fired the gun, Leindecker told the Beaver County Times. The police chief stated that “He is extremely devastated by the actions that took place. I mean, it’s a tragic incident that occurred. It’s not something that he dreamed would ever happen.”

Grant may also be facing charges related to the incident. According to Pennsylvania state hunting regulations, it is a violation to shoot a firearm within 150 yards of an occupied residence that is not your own. Foxnews.com reported that two other houses seem to be within 100 yards of the place where the girl was shot. In addition, state officials told Fox News that a furtaker license is required to hunt skunks. It is unknown whether Grant has one of these licenses or not.

No charges have been filed as of October 22. New Sewickley police and the Pennsylvania Game Commission are completing  a “thorough investigation,” according to Leindecker.