LIGONIER TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A Ligonier Township man is now headed to trial after a shooting in his home that claimed the life of an 11-year-old boy.
The boy was playing with the man’s children when the group got their hands on a gun.
Roger McQuillis is now headed to trial on misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of children.
Back in September of last year, McQuillis left his then 10 and 11-year old sons at their Darlington Road home with a friend while he and his wife went to deal with a family matter at a nearby personal care home.
They were gone for less than 20 minutes when they got a phone call that their sons’ 11-year old friend Christopher Harr had been shot in the head with a rifle.
“Obviously everyone is tragically saddened by what happened to Christopher Harr,” Tim Andrews, McQuillis’ defense attorney, said. “My client has been devastated by this as I’m sure the Harr family is.”
The boys initially told detectives that Harr had gotten the gun from upstairs and was leaning over the barrel when the gun went off.
They later admitted that it was one of them that got the gun. The first time the boy pulled the trigger nothing happened, but when he pulled it again it went off, striking Harr in the head.
County detectives today testified that they found 10 unsecured firearms in McQuillis’ home, four of which were loaded.
Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck told the judge today that there were, “Weapons and an abundance of ammunition in the house, none of which was secured when the boys were alone.”
He went on to say that it’s “the nature of boys to explore,” and it was, “reckless to leave lethal force in the house.”
Andrews disagrees saying it was a tragic accident.
“This was not a criminal act and if it was a criminal act then everyone in this county who has a weapon in their house and doesn’t have it under lock and key – if they leave child in house then they’ve committed a crime according to the government,” he said.
And of course, defense attorneys do not believe that to be the case.
Noticeably missing in the courtroom today was the young victim’s family. Their attorney, however, was present.