UPDATE: Police: Boy, 7, accidentally shot to death by father
MERCER, Pa. (AP) — A man’s handgun went off while he was holding it as he got into his truck in the parking lot of a Mercer-area gun store today, and the shot killed his 7-year-old son, authorities said.
Joseph V. Loughrey, 44, of Sharpsville, was getting into the truck when the 9 mm handgun discharged, wounding Craig Allen Loughrey in the chest shortly before 11 a.m., according to state police. The boy died at the scene at Twigs Reloading Den in East Lackawannock Township.
Investigators said Loughrey told them he didn’t realize there was a bullet still in the chamber. “This happens all too often where people think the gun was empty,” state trooper Lt. Eric Hermick said.
Loughrey was trying to sell two guns at the store — one a scoped rifle and the other, the handgun, state police said. The owners told Loughrey the store doesn’t buy guns so Loughrey and his son returned to the truck with them. Loughrey put the boy in the passenger seat and loaded the rifle into the truck, state police said. He was attempting to get inside and reached to put the handgun in the center storage console when it fired, they said.
Loughrey was questioned by state police, who said he was cooperative and distraught. The shooting is being investigated as an accident, although Loughrey could face charges, including manslaughter and negligence, Hermick said.
“I know that little kid was everything to him,” said Mark McLaughlin of Fredonia, a friend and co-worker of Loughrey’s at Superior Well Services in Fredonia.
Messages left for the coroner’s office and at a listing in Loughrey’s name were not immediately returned.