7-year-old shot and killed at Mercer County gun store

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The Mercer County Coroner has ruled the death of a 7-year-old boy who was shot by his father Saturday as accidental.

Coroner J. Bradley McGonigle said Craig Allen Loughrey of Fredonia died from a gunshot wound to the chest in the parking lot of Twig's Reloading Den, 8388 Sharon Mercer Road in East Lackawannock Township, shortly before 11 a.m.

The boy's father, identified by state police as 44-year-old Joseph V. Loughrey of Sharpsville, had brought a rifle and handgun to the store to try to sell them.

The shop's owner, Gladys "Twig" Mohney, said she told Mr. Loughrey that she doesn't buy guns and that he left the store. She said she then heard a pop but thought it was a nearby hunter, and didn't know anything had happened in the parking lot until she saw police and firetrucks outside. When she went out she saw paramedics trying to revive the boy.

Mr. Loughrey told police that he had emptied the pistol's magazine but didn't realize a bullet was still in the chamber when he got back into his pickup truck.

Mr. McGonigle said Mr. Loughrey placed the rifle behind the front seat and attempted to get into the pickup holding the handgun when it went off and the bullet struck the child in the passenger seat.

Imy Howard, who owns the Howard & Son Meat Packing store next to Twig's, said her son heard a single gunshot that sounded closer than the usual shots heard from nearby hunters. They later saw police and ambulance crews surrounding a body in the parking lot.

The Mercer Fire Department, Superior Ambulance, Mercer Police, State Police and the coroner responded.

A website for the store said the shop includes a target range, and it also sells fishing and hunting gear. Mrs. Howard said the store had target shooting in its back parking lot last week, but did not have it this morning.

A Twig's employee who did not identify herself said the incident was "just an unfortunate accident."

No other injuries were reported. State police are investigating and no charges have been filed. mobilehome - breaking - neigh_north

Erich Schwartzel: eschwartzel@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1455. First Published December 8, 2012 5:45 AM


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