Man Gets Probation for Shooting Girl He Thought Was a Skunk

Police say a costumed girl was accidentally shot outside a western Pennsylvania home during a Halloween party by a relative who thought she was a skunk.

A western Pennsylvania man has been placed on two years' probation in the shooting of a costumed child that police said he mistook for an animal.
The Beaver County Times says 25-year-old Thomas Grant of Rochester pleaded no contest Monday to misdemeanor simple assault and reckless endangerment counts.

Back in October, police say Grant shot his 8-year-old cousin during a Halloween party in New Sewickley. Police said the child was in a black costume with a white feather or tassel on her hat, and Grant thought she was a skunk.

The girl underwent surgery for injuries to her spine and internal organs. The Beaver County Times reports the girl is still under medical supervision and has to be regularly tested for lead poisoning. Doctors also told the paper the girl was hit by 100 bird shots and may need surgery to have the pellets removed. Police never revealed the girl's name.

An aggravated assault charge against Grant was dismissed in February.
Grant was also ordered to pay restitution to the family of the victim. His attorney characterized the shooting as a "tragic accident.''  His hunting privileges have also been revoked during his probation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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