HEMPFIELD (KDKA) — A man told police he was trying to shoot a groundhog, but he says the scope was off on his gun and he ended up shooting his friend instead.
It happened outside 51-year-old James Sullivan’s home on Abell Lane in Hempfield. He and his friend, 51-year-old Barry Guy had been drinking beer and whiskey throughout the day when guy fell asleep under an apple tree.
“While he was sleeping in the yard, his friend saw a groundhog that was in his close proximity, the friend went in and grabbed a rifle and decided that he was going to try and shoot this groundhog,” State Trooper Steve Limani said. “And in doing so, shot his friend in the foot.”
Sullivan was reportedly sitting on his front porch when he fired the rifle. The groundhog was allegedly just two feet from Guy’s legs.
Guy was flown to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh where he underwent surgery. A friend tells KDKA-TV he lost a toe, but was expected to be discharged Monday afternoon.
Police say he’s lucky to be alive.
“That’s extremely reckless the fact that someone would take a firearm after consuming a large amount of alcohol, point it anywhere near anyone and even think to shoot off a round – luckily in this case only thing that was shot was the victim’s foot,” Limani said.
James Sullivan is facing aggravated assault and related charges. He was released on $10,000 unsecured bond.