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2-year-old Fayette County boy shoots self in 'tragic accident'

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Owen Harris, 2, of Isabella, Fayette County, was shot in the face at his home.

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By Jennifer Reeger and Mary Pickels
Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 10:15 a.m.
 

Richard Harris said he was angry when he found out his 2-year-old son got a gun from his mother's purse and shot himself in the face on Thursday night.

“Who leaves loaded guns around with 2- or 3-year-old kids?” Harris, 25, of Centerville, Washington County, said on Friday afternoon. “I have guns in my house, but they're locked up.”

State police said Owen Harris shot himself in the face with his stepfather's gun around 8:50 p.m. at his home along Second Street in Isabella, Luzerne Township.

Trooper Stefani Plume said Owen somehow got the gun, which was in his mother's purse, and shot himself.

His mother and stepfather were home at the time, Plume said.

Owen was taken first to Uniontown Hospital and then flown to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, where he was in critical but stable condition Friday.

Plume said no charges have been filed in the case.

“It appears as though the incident was just a tragic accident,” Plume said in a news release.

Fayette County District Attorney Jack Heneks said the incident remains under investigation.

Richard Harris said he has “a thousand questions” about the shooting. He said his ex-girlfriend told him she and her husband were asleep when Owen woke up and got the gun.

“I'm sure she's just as devastated,” he said of Owen's mother.

Richard Harris said Owen and his 3-year-old daughter, Jalynn, live with his ex-girlfriend, Donna Christopher, and her husband, Donald.

Attempts to reach the Christophers Friday were unsuccessful.

Donald Christopher asked for prayers on Facebook yesterday.

“Please everyone please pray for our lil man owen we love u so much buddy u mean the world to us,” he wrote.

And though he's looking for answers, what Richard Harris wants is to see his son smile again.

Richard Harris said his son is in intensive care and has been sedated.

“They're saying it's still up in the air,” Harris said of Owen's condition. “He has a long road ahead of him. But I guess he's doing all right for what happened to him. There's no sugarcoating it. He's definitely hurt badly.”

Richard Harris, his grandfather Phillip Gill, 70, and other family members rushed to Children's Thursday night.

Gill said doctors are monitoring brain swelling in Owen, who shot himself in the face between his nose and mouth.

Gill said his great-grandson is a typical 2-year-old boy who likes to romp around and play.

“He's always having fun, him and his sister, and he's always happy,” Gill said.

Jennifer Reeger and Mary Pickels are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Jennifer can be reached at 724-836-6155 or jreeger@tribweb.com. Mary can be reached at 724- 850-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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