A Halloween party became a horror story Saturday night when a 9-year-old girl was shot, after a relative accidentally mistook her for a skunk, WPXI reported.
At about 8:30 p.m., a male family member shot at the young girl, who was sporting a black costume that included a black hat with a white tassel, thinking it was a skunk. The unnamed man allegedly saw movement over the crest of a hill at the home in New Sewickley Township, Pa. — located in Beaver County about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh — and fired his gun. He shot her in the shoulder with a shotgun, the Beaver County Times reported. Ronald Leindecker, New Sewickley police chief, told the Times that the girl — alert and speaking — was transported to UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, where she underwent surgery. Her condition following the surgery was unknown.
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Officials are still investigating the incident, and Leindecker told the Times that he is unsure whether charges will be filed. He said the man was sober when he fired the gun. The Beaver County district attorney’s office will take over the case and continue the investigation.
It’s not the first time, though, that someone was shot following an animal-human mix-up. In 2009, ABC affiliate WHSV-TV reported that a female biology student at Ferrum College in Virginia died while collecting frogs for class when a hunter thought she was a deer and shot her in the chest.
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