A father shot and killed his 7-year-old son Saturday morning outside a Mercer area hunting and camping supply store in what Pennsylvania State Police described as a tragic accident.
State police are investigating the death as an accidental shooting and are awaiting the results of an autopsy.
“It’s just a tragedy — it’s terrible,” Trooper Robert Perrine told the Los Angeles Times. He declined to comment further.
The shooting was reported to the Mercer County 911 Center at 10:53 a.m. in the parking lot of Twigs Reloading Den, 8388 Sharon-Mercer Road, in East Lackawannock Township. Police said the gun fired as Joseph Loughrey, 44, and his son, Craig, of Fredonia, Pa., were entering a pickup truck.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Loughrey told police he had emptied the magazine of his 9mm Taurus handgun, and he didn’t know there was a bullet in the chamber. The gun discharged, and his son was struck in the chest.
State police said Loughrey was cooperative and distraught during questioning, the newspaper reported.
“I know that little kid was everything to him,” Mark McLaughlin, Loughrey’s friend and co-worker, told the newspaper.
State Police Lt. Eric Hermick told the Tribune- Review that the man could face such charges as manslaughter and negligence.
The Mercer police and fire departments, an ambulance, state police and the county coroner were dispatched to the scene.
The boy’s father said the handgun discharged accidentally, striking the boy as he sat in a booster seat, and emergency responders’ efforts to revive the boy were unsuccessful, according to 21 WFMJ-TV.
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