Police say that a father accidentally shot his 7-year-old son dead at the parking lot of a Pennsylvania gun store on Saturday. The boy died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
According to CBS Pittsburgh, a Pennsylvania State Police spokesman said the shooting occurred around 11 a.m. at the Twig's Reloading Den at 8388 Sharon Mercer Road in East Lackawannock Township, 60 miles north of Pittsburgh.
Reuters reports that Craig Allen Loughrey was shot in the chest by a handgun his father, Joseph V. Loughrey, 44, was holding as he got into his pickup truck. The boy was in the passenger seat when the gun went off.
The details of the incident are scanty, The Inquisitr reports, but police say Loughrey and his son had just left the store after he tried to sell two hand guns. When he was leaving, he put one of the guns in the back of the truck while his son climbed into a booster seat in the passenger side.
CBS Pittsburgh reports Loughrey was holding a .9 mm semi-automatic Tarus as he got inside the car.
Lt. Eric Hermick with the Pennsylvania State Police, said: "He got in the drivers side of the car, had a .9 mm gun in his hand, was setting it in the center console and it discharged, hitting his son in the upper right chest."
The boy was already strapped in the booster seat when the gun went off accidentally. Police say the father was backing his car out of a space in the parking lot of Twig's Reloading Den, when the gun discharged.
Accoding to CBS Pittsburgh, police say the force of the impact was so great that it knocked the boy back and shattered the window behind him. Loughrey, at first, tried to race to the hospital, but he stopped and pulled the boy out and attempted CPR.
According to the police, Loughrey said he thought the gun was not loaded. But the store owner Leonard Mohney, who only heard the gunshot, said: “Instead of checking it, they’ll pull the magazine out and they will not check the chamber. It’s just an unfortunate incident.”
According to Mohney, the magazine was empty, but there was a bullet in the chamber.
Nicole Howard, who witnessed the aftermath of the tragic incident, said she heard the sound of the gun from her family's business premises. She said : “There are lots and lot of flashing lights and lots of crime tape. There was a single shot, and then the police came.”
The Mercer County police and coroner are investigating.
CBS Pittsburgh reports police believe it was an accident but they are reviewing surveillance footage.
The Daily Mail reports that the police questioned Loughrey about the shooting.
Police say he was co-operative but distraught. According to the Daily Mail, a friend of Loughrey, Mark McLaughlin, said: "I know that little kid was everything to him."
The father could be charged with manslaughter and negligence, a police spokesman said.
The Daily Mail reports Loughrey and Craig’s mother are divorced. He had custody of his son over the weekend.
Loughrey's friend, McLaughlin, said: "He was a wonderful little kid. He was special. He was full of life, a lot of fun."
According to The Inquisitr, the website of the gun store where the shooting occurred urged patrons to be “sure to start looking early for ammo, bullets or powder for this season,” as it “looks like everything will be harder to find.”