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Accidental rifle shot in Derry Township house wounds girl

| Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Thomas Furin

An 11-year-old girl was shot in her leg and foot on Sunday night while she was sitting on the floor of an upstairs bedroom in a Derry Township home.

The bullet discharged when Thomas Eric Furin, 36, allegedly banged a rifle against the floor downstairs during an argument with his girlfriend, the child's mother, police said.

The rifle went off and “the bullet traveled through the ceiling into an upstairs bedroom,” through the girl's right foot and left thigh as she sat cross-legged and then through the bedroom's ceiling and attic.

The girl was taken to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Police did not release her condition.

Furin is being held in the Westmoreland County Prison on $75,000 bail.

Police responded to a domestic dispute at a home on West Fourth Avenue at 10:46 p.m. Sunday and found Furin outside with his hands above his head. The rifle was sitting on the front porch.

The 11-year-old's mother told police that she and Furin were arguing in the living room when he allegedly grabbed the rifle.

“(The woman) related that the defendant sat down on the couch and banged the gun on the floor, causing said weapon to fire,” wrote Trooper Ray Andrekanic in the affidavit.

Another daughter in the home, who is 18, told police that she heard the argument escalating and went downstairs to check on their mother, but the teen's boyfriend pulled her back upstairs, Andrekanic wrote.

The older sister and her boyfriend were in the upstairs bedroom “when the bullet came through the floor and struck the victim, who was sitting on the floor,” according to the affidavit. The couple was seated on a bed, according to police.

Furin told police that he went to grab the rifle to hide it behind the couch during the argument.

“He stated that he grabbed the barrel of the gun with his right hand at which time the rifle fired for unknown reasons,” according to the affidavit.

Furin is charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and three counts of reckless endangerment. He was arraigned on Monday morning, and a preliminary hearing before District Judge Mark Bilik is scheduled for Jan. 3.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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