LIGONIER TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — It has been more than one year since an 11-year-old boy suffered a fatal gunshot wound at a home in Ligonier Township.
Police have said another young boy pulled the trigger. They have now charged an adult in connection with the boy’s death.
Although investigators ruled the boy’s death an accident, police say the owner of the home where the shooting happened should be held responsible.
Rodger McQuillis, 58, declined to comment on charges filed against him by Westmoreland County detectives.
He’s now facing endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person charges after a shooting in his home that claimed the life of Christopher Harr in September of 2010.
“During that evening one of juveniles ended up getting hold of a gun,” Ligonier Township Police Chief Mike Matrunics said. “And, unfortunately, a child got shot [while] playing with this gun at the time.”
McQuillis left his two children and Harr at home alone for a short time so he could meet with family members at a nearby senior citizens living community.
When he returned, the children had retrieved the rifle from upstairs.
According to the criminal complaint, the one child pulled the bolt back and pulled the trigger and nothing happened, but when the child did this a second time, the rifle fired a fatal shot at Harr.
The family of Christopher Harr was advised by their attorney not to comment on the charges, but says it is difficult to be confronted with this all over again.
Police are hoping the charges can keep a tragedy like this from happening to another family.
“I think a lot of kids in about that age have been told probably by parents or by guardians, ‘Do not touch this gun …’
“And I think that goes to show what could happen and how serious the outcome of it is,” Chief Matrunics said.
McQuillis’ charges are misdemeanors.