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Mercer County man charged in shooting of girl he mistook for skunk

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By Michael Hasch
Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, 6:58 p.m.

A Mercer County man was charged Thursday with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and simple assault for shooting an 8-year-old girl he mistook for a skunk.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled Nov. 1 for Thomas Edward Grant, 24, of Jackson Center, who is accused of shooting his cousin during a Halloween party Saturday night outside his mother's home along Brewer Road in New Sewickley in Beaver County.

Township police Chief Ronald Leindecker said the girl, who was dressed in a black Halloween costume and a black hat with a white feather and playing hide-and-seek, remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Leindecker, whose department investigated the case along with Pennsylvania Game Commission officers, has said that Grant's mother, Janet Grant, was told there was a skunk in the backyard and she told her son to get his shotgun and shoot it.

Two witnesses told police that they couldn't be sure if it was a skunk because it was dark and that a brighter flashlight was needed.

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

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