PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A man accused of shooting his young cousin after mistaking her for a skunk waived his right to a preliminary hearing and is now headed to trial.
Thomas Grant was quiet as he walked into a Beaver County courtroom with his attorney.
The 24-year-old faces charges, including aggravated assault, for a shooting that happened on Oct. 20.
“He is a family guy. This was a tragic accident and he feels terrible about it,” Attorney Steven Valsamidis said.
According to police, the incident took place during a Halloween party at a home on Brewer Road in New Sewickley Township.
Grant said his mother told him she heard there was a skunk in the yard.
He went outside with a shotgun and fired at what he thought was the animal.
It turns out it wasn’t an animal at all, but it was his young cousin who was dressed in a black and white Halloween costume.
The girl was struck in the shoulder and was flown to Children’s Hospital.
“He is terribly upset over this whole situation and obviously the first concern is that the 9-year-old little girl is doing well. She is recovering and it is my understanding that so far, so good,” Valsamidis said.
Grant’s attorney said family members are updating his client on the girl’s progress and she is reportedly doing well.
He also said he doesn’t think his client should be facing any criminal charges.
He described Grant as a real family man. In fact, Grant’s wife gave birth to their first child last night.
“This experience is very terrifying for him. He’s never been through it before, a responsible, well-liked man and that’s why I feel comfortable with the overall potential outcome,” Valsamidis said.
Grant is scheduled to appear in court again in December.