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Gun victim witnessed Colo. spree

| Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, 12:13 a.m.
Kylie Marie Sage of Bullskin Township, Fayette County, was fatally shot on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013.

Kylie Marie Sage of Fayette County recognized the potential danger of firearms firsthand after being an eyewitness to a mass shooting inside a Colorado bar almost four years ago.

But that personal awareness doesn't make news of Sage's accidental shooting death early Sunday any easier to comprehend for family and friends.

Sage, 23, of Bullskin, was found dead of a single bullet wound in the driver's seat of a Ford F-250 pickup truck parked along North Bell View Road around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, state police said.

Sage's cousin, Jeremy P. Hamborsky, 24, is charged with involuntary manslaughter. He was released from the county jail after posting $5,000 bond Sunday.

“Oh, it is so hard for all of us who knew her to understand ... we are all having a hard time because she was such a terrific person,” said family friend Jacob R. Burncheck of West Leisenring.

“I was friends with her brother, Ian, and I knew her as fun and outgoing and she was just a sweet person. She would help anyone if she could,” Burncheck said.

Sage, an employee of Frontier Environmental of Jones Mills, attended Connellsville High School with the class of 2008. She was active in the Fayette County 4-H program, Burncheck said.

“She had grown up on the family's farm,” he said.

According to Vail, Colo., newspaper accounts, Kylie; her older brother, Ian; mother, Cynthia Hamborsky, and her husband, Buck, were eating in the Sandbar in West Vail in November 2009 while on a trip to Colorado to watch a Steelers and Denver Broncos Monday night football game.

According to the Vail Daily, the family was only “feet away” when Richard “Rossi” Moreau, a longtime Vail resident, pulled out a gun and began firing randomly, killing one and wounding three others.

The Connellsville family escaped, but Buck went back into the bar to search for Ian, who was already outside and was credited with moving one of the injured men to safety, thereby saving his life.

Moreau, who blamed the shootings on post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from his time in the Vietnam War, is serving a life sentence plus 80 years after being convicted of murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault.

An unidentified person who answered the telephone at the Hamborsky home Monday said the family would have no comment on Kylie's death.

On Sunday, state police reported that Sage had told Jeremy Hamborsky on Saturday about buying a .45-caliber Ruger pistol earlier.

While sitting in the truck together, Trooper Craig Soltis reported in the affidavit of probable cause. Sage handed the new gun to Hamborsky, who removed it from its holster and asked if it was loaded. She said it was not loaded, Soltis wrote.

Hamborsky “then worked the action of the firearm by holding it in his right hand and racking the slide back with his left hand,” police said in a news release.

When the slide returned, the gun discharged one round, striking Sage underneath her right armpit and through her body, ultimately causing her death, police said.

Police filed the involuntary manslaughter charge after consulting with District Attorney Jack Heneks.

“It didn't rise to the level of third-degree (murder). We didn't think there was any malice,” he said.

“There wasn't anything that reflected a hardness of heart,” Heneks added.

“It was a grossly negligent act, in handling the gun in the car and doing the things he did,” Heneks said.

Sage was pronounced dead at the scene by a deputy coroner.

In addition to her mother, Cynthia Hamborsky, her husband, Buck, and Ian, she is survived by her father, Scott Sage, and a sister, Lyn; maternal grandparents, Bill and Johanna Harden of Connellsville and paternal grandparents, John and Donna Sage of South Connellsville.

Her obituary said Sage enjoyed being outdoors, especially working on the family farm, hunting, riding her quad and spending time with her brother and sister. Friends will be received in the Vito C. Martucci Funeral Home in Connellsville from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and 12 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. A prayer service will be held 11 a.m. Thursday in the funeral home with the Rev. Bob Lubic officiating, followed by a graveside committal service in Green Ridge Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, Sage's family asks donations be made to the National Kidney Foundation 30 E. 33rd St., New York, NY 10016.

A preliminary hearing will be scheduled before Connellsville District Judge Ronald J. Haggerty Jr.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or Staff writer Liz Zemba contributed to this report.

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