Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Girl, 9, Mistaken for Skunk Gets Shot by Relative at Halloween Party

A 9-year-old girl was shot on Saturday night when her costume was mistaken for a skunk by relatives.

To deal with the 'skunk' problem her relative took out a shotgun and fired at what he thought was a smelly invader. The girl was wearing a black costume and a black hat with a white tassel. She was on the far side of a hill at the time.

The man was sober when it happened, according to police, and he hasn't been arrested. But we have some questions we'd like to ask him.

The incident took place at 8:30 pm on a Saturday night during a Halloween party. If the girl was far enough away to appear the same size as a skunk, why did he shoot at it?

It seems like skunk shooting on Saturday night's is a little unnecessary, not to mention dangerous. There's also the issue of how many shots were fired.

So far there are no reports on how many bullets were used but the girl was shot in the shoulder, arm, back and neck, reports Huffington Post.

The girl was conscious and talking when she was airlifted to the hospital although her condition was unavailable. The fate of her relative is also unclear.

Shooting someone intentionally or recklessly is a crime but it's not clear that's what happened here. If the man reasonably thought he saw a skunk and had a permit for the gun, there may not be any crime.

On the other hand, if his actions were reckless as to whether it was really a skunk he may not be so lucky.

So far police haven't decided whether to arrest the man, reports CBS News. Often an arrest happens before there are legal charges from the prosecutor's office, but that's not always the case. Sometimes the police wait for the district attorney to determine if charges are appropriate when the issue is unclear.

For now the man will have to wait and see if his actions are considered criminal. One thing is for sure: he'll be more careful about shooting skunks in the future.

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