Man Shoots Eight-Year-Old Cousin in Halloween Costume After Mistaking Her For A Skunk At A Family Bonfire

There is a bizarre case out of Pennsylvania that raises both potential tort and criminal liability. At a family Halloween bonfire, Janet Grant spotted a skunk and told her son Thomas Grant to fetch a shotgun and shoot it. When he returned, Janet Grant shined a flashlight on the animal while her son shot it. It was only then that they discovered that Thomas Grant had just shot his eight-year-old cousin in her black and white Halloween costume. What is amazing is that authorities say that they are considering possible animal gaming charges.

Fortunately, the little girl survived with a wound to the shoulder and abdomen.

The police in Beaver County have not brought charges and alcohol does not appear to have been a factor.

Putting aside the family connection (which presumably makes the likelihood of a lawsuit unlikely), there is a basis for both battery and negligence in such a wounding. With children in the area, the discharge of the firearm would seem pretty unreasonable even with the effort to illuminate “the animal.” Moreover, this would have to have been a pretty large skunk to be the size of an eight-year-old child.

Just for the record, the average weight of a standard spotted skunk in that area is a little over 1 pound. The biggest skunk is a hog-nosed skunk that can reach up to 18 pounds.

Source: ABC

32 thoughts on “Man Shoots Eight-Year-Old Cousin in Halloween Costume After Mistaking Her For A Skunk At A Family Bonfire

  1. There are over 300 million persons in the USA. By definition, their average IQ is 100. That’s more than 150 million with an IQ over 100, and, yes, more than 150 million with an IQ of less than 100 …

    You don’t really want anyone with an IQ of less than 85 or so handling dangerous machines of any kind. A firearm falls into that category.

    We may all be equal under the law. That does not make us all equal.

  2. Romney needs to be careful that no wingnut mistakes him for a skunky liberal plant and pops a cap in his posterior, especially after last night’s debate.

  3. Well Frances….not all America own guns….. Just the ones in Texas….. Occasionally we have visiting vice presidents that shoot attorney’s in the face and get away with it…..

  4. What makes you people think this child will survive. As of the last notice regarding her condition she is still in critical condition 3 days later. This child is in jepoardy of losing her life. The flippant remarks made on this post are disgusting. The injuries discribed on this small girl are devastating and, if she survives, may cause life long disability. The man who discharged this weapon in the vacinity of children and nearby homes should at the very least be charged with criminal negligence. If the child dies those charges should be upgraded to criminally negligent homicide. What this man feels is besides the point. Laws are in place to assure that “accidents” like this are infrequent by holding transgressors accountable. This man should be held accountable with his mother as an accomplice.

  5. This is a very sad story. I feel very sorry for the young child who was injured. I hope she has a full and speedy recovery. As for the aunt and son, they should never be allowed near a gun. What kind of person shoots an animal in a residential area especially with children nearby? Isn’t that against the law?

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