ShareThis Page

Police: Boy, 6, fatally shot by brother in West Mifflin

Megan Guza
| Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, 1:03 p.m.
Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough speaks about the shooting death of a 6-year-old West Mifflin boy Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Julian Hoffman was home alone with his 10-year-old brother when the older boy got a hold of a loaded gun and shot the younger child in the head.
Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough speaks about the shooting death of a 6-year-old West Mifflin boy Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Julian Hoffman was home alone with his 10-year-old brother when the older boy got a hold of a loaded gun and shot the younger child in the head.

A 10-year-old West Mifflin boy left at home alone with his younger brother got a hold of a loaded gun Wednesday morning and fatally shot the younger boy in the head, police said.

Julian Hoffman, 6, was pronounced dead just before 11 a.m. at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office.

The shooting happened about 9:45 a.m. at a mobile home on Dover Lane, according to Allegheny County police. The boy was shot once in the head.

County police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said the children's mother was at work and her live-in boyfriend was not at home. He said investigators believe the mother left the children at home when she went to work Wednesday morning.

McDonough said the older child, whose name he did not release, called his mother and then 911. He said that, so far, there is no indication that the boy intended to harm his brother, though investigators are working to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

The handgun, a 9mm pistol, was purchased legally by the children's mother, McDonough said. The incident happened in the mother's bedroom. He said investigators will consult with the district attorney's office to determine whether charges will be filed against the mother, who McDonough also did not name.

He said the same is true regarding potential charges against the 10-year-old.

“The boy's 10 years old. By law, the child could be charged as a delinquent child ... but, again, the child's 10 years old,” he said.

McDonough said it's not clear whether the children are typically left home alone or if Wednesday was an anomaly.

“Every firearm should be treated as if it's loaded,” he said. “Every firearm should be secured with a gun lock ... there's really no excuse for a weapon to get in the hands of a child.”

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519, or via Twitter at @meganguzaTrib.

Pistol-packing bride arrested for pointing gun at groom
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — A Tennessee bride was arrested hours after saying "I do" when authorities say she pointed a gun at her groom. Murfreesboro police Sgt. ...
Washington state Supreme Court upholds Seattle's $25 gun tax
SEATTLE — The Washington Supreme Court upheld Seattle's so-called "gun violence tax" against a challenge from gun rights groups Thursday, leaving the city as one ...
Police arrest West Mifflin mom whose son fatally shot younger brother
The mother of a 10-year-old boy who shot and killed his 6-year-old brother has been arrested. Kayleigh Potter, 29, was located in West Mifflin on Friday ...
Police: 1 dead after man gives toddler gun to chase victim
WARRENVILLE, S.C. — Authorities say they have charged a man with murder after he gave a 3-year-old boy a gun and told him to chase ...
Cops: Pa. man killed when he drops gun while calming child
BERWICK — Police say a Pennsylvania man fatally shot himself when he tried to catch a gun that fell from his holster while he was ...
Trial set for baby sitter in charge when boy fatally shot in Mt. Pleasant
A baby sitter charged with endangering the welfare of children will go to trial in November for allegedly allowing a teenager access to a loaded ...
Florida child, 4, fatally shoots self with gun found in home
TAMPA, Fla. — Police in Florida say a 4-year-old child fatally shot himself with a gun he found in his house. The shooting happened about ...
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me