Father accidentally shoots dead son, 7, who was in his booster seat in the parking lot in front of gun store
22:22 GMT, 8 December 2012
A man's handgun went off while he was holding it as he got into his truck in the parking lot of a western Pennsylvania gun store Saturday and the shot killed his 7-year-old son, authorities said.
Joseph V. Loughrey, 44, was getting into the truck when the 9 mm handgun discharged, wounding the boy, Craig Allen Loughrey, in the chest, according to state police.
The boy died at the scene at Twigs Reloading Den in East Lackawannock Township, 60 miles north of Pittsburgh.
Tragic: A Pennsylvania father accdientally shot his 7-year-old son, Craig, while the man was holding it as he got into his truck in the parking lot of a western Pennsylvania gun store on Saturday
Accident: Joseph V. Loughrey, 44, shot the boy in the chest. Police are investigating but believe it was an accidental death
Store owner Leonard Mohney said the boy was shot in the parking lot, but that he didn't see what happened.
Mercer County 911 supervisor Valerie Hartman says police found the boy wounded in the chest.
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,' Lt. Eric Hermick told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Joseph Loughrey was questioned by state police, who said he was cooperative and distraught. The shooting is being investigated as an accident.
Sorrow: 'I know that little kid was everything to him,' a friend of the father's told the local paper about the dad's relationship with his 7-year-old son, Craig
Unthinkable: Joseph Loughrey was questioned by state police about the shooting death of his son, Craig. Police said the father was cooperative and distraught
But officials are still reviewing surveillance video from the shop, the father could face charges, including manslaughter and negligence, Hermick said.
'I know that little kid was everything to him,' Mark McLaughlin, a friend and co-worker of Loughrey’s at Superior Well Services in Fredonia, told the local paper.
The father had visited the gun shop on Saturday morning, with his son accompanying him inside the store, to try and sell two guns – one a scope rifle and handgun, state police said.
The shop owner was not interested in the offerings so Loughrey and his son returned to the truck.
Tragedy: The little boy died from a gun shot fired as his father was pulling away from the Twigs Reloading Den in Mercer, Pa.
Loughrey place the 7-year-old in a booster seat on the passenger side and he loaded the long rifle into the truck.
He was attempting to get inside and reached to put the handgun in the center storage console when it fired, state police said.
Loughrey and Craig’s mother are divorced and the 44-year-old father had custody of the child over the weekend.
'He was a wonderful little kid. He was special. He was full of life, a lot of fun,' McLaughlin said.