Indiana Township tot's shooting under investigation

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Sunday, July 3, 2011

Marsha Yount said Peyton Regan looked like "a little football player."

The 3-year-old who lived two doors up from her in the Rich Hill Estates mobile home park was stocky, cute, energetic and friendly as can be, she said Saturday.

Yount was among the residents of the close-knit mobile home park in shock yesterday after Regan shot and killed himself late Friday night.

Township police said Regan fired the gun around 10:20 p.m. inside his family's home at 257 Greene Drive. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:35 p.m., according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office.

The medical examiner yesterday officially ruled Regan's death an accident from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the head. No information on the type of weapon involved was released.

"He'd come up to me and say, 'I'm Peyton,'" Yount said. "I knew his name and he knew me. That's how he'd come up to you. He was so cute. He was very high-strung -- a typical boy."

The Allegheny County Police homicide unit is investigating the death with township police.

"Detectives are proceeding cautiously with the investigation and all parties are cooperating," Sgt. Scott Schere said in a statement. "The case will be turned over to the office of the District Attorney for review."

Scherer's statement said no other information would be released until after the investigation is finished and the case reviewed by the district attorney's office.

Township police referred questions to Allegheny County Police.

Neighbors including Rose Ann Gilmore said children had been shooting off fireworks and firing BB guns for the last several days as Independence Day approached.

"We had a lot of fireworks going off. There was one that didn't sound right," neighbor Keith Cohen said. "I didn't pay much attention to it. Then the whole street was lit up with lights."

Gilmore said she was watching television and didn't know what had happened until her husband, Bryan, came to her from another room.

"He asked if I'd seen all the police cars," Gilmore said. "I said, 'What police cars?'"

Gilmore said she heard Regan's father, Ron Regan, crying outside and saying repeatedly, "I wish I put it away," perhaps referring to the gun Peyton shot himself with.

"He kept screaming and crying," she said.

Some neighbors said they knew there was a gun in Peyton's home; others said they didn't.

What neighbors did know was that Peyton's parents loved him.

Rose Ann Gilmore said they never let him roam around outside by himself.

Yount said Peyton's parents were so protective they were leery about leaving Peyton in the care of anyone else, even family.

"He was never out on the street. They took very good care of him," Rose Ann Gilmore agreed. "Any time I'd seen him, he was with his dad."

Gilmore and others said they'd see Peyton's dad taking him for rides around the mobile home park on his motorcycle.

"You didn't notice the bike. All you noticed were the smiles. You could tell the love that was there," Cohen said. "They lived and worked for that baby."

Peyton even had his own motorcycle -- a new toy.

Peyton's dad "just bought this kid a bike. It's hanging up in the shed," Bryan Gilmore said, his words strained by tears. "He wanted to start to train him how to ride.

"It was the classic father-son love. It was like he lived for that kid," he said.

"If anything good comes from this, it's for another parent to learn to leave their guns unloaded and locked up," Cohen said. "There's no reason to keep a gun loaded in your house, especially if you have children."

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