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Girl mistaken for skunk and shot in Beaver County still in critical condition

| Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

The 8-year-old girl who was shot when she apparently was mistaken for a skunk during a weekend Halloween bonfire at the home of a relative in Beaver County remained hospitalized in critical condition on Monday.

Thomas Grant of Jackson Center, Mercer County, told police that he shot at what appeared to be a skunk in the backyard of his mother's home on Brewer Road in New Sewickley, township police Chief Ronald Leindecker said.

“The juvenile victim was wearing a black Halloween costume with a white feather on the hat,” Leindecker said in a prepared statement.

The shooting occurred shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday.

Janet Grant told police that “she had received reports of a skunk in the backyard and had requested (that her son) shoot the skunk,” Leindecker said.

“Mr. Grant retrieved his shotgun from the residence and proceeded to the backyard,” the chief said.

“Thomas Grant stated that his mother was holding a flashlight over a hillside and Mr. Grant (armed with a shotgun) shot at what appeared to be a skunk.”

When police arrived, emergency medical personnel and family members were treating the girl. She was flown to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh. Authorities did not release her name.

Township police and state Game Commission officials must finish talking to witnesses and gathering evidence before authorities determine if criminal charges are warranted, Leindecker said.

Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or at mhasch@tribweb.com.

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