(TheBlaze/AP) — A man’s handgun went off as he was getting into his truck at a western Pennsylvania gun store Saturday, and the shot tragically killed his 7-year-old son, authorities said.
Joseph V. Loughrey, 44, of Sharpsville, was holding the gun while when the 9 mm handgun discharged, hitting his child Craig Allen Loughrey in the chest, according to state police. The boy died at the scene at Twigs Reloading Den in East Lackawannock Township, 60 miles north of Pittsburgh.
Investigators said Loughrey told them he didn’t realize there was a bullet still in the chamber. “This happens all too often where people think the gun was empty,” Lt. Eric Hermick told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Loughrey was trying to sell two guns at the store – one a scope rifle and the other, the handgun, state police said. The owners told Loughrey the store doesn’t buy guns so Loughrey and his son returned to the truck with them. Loughrey put the boy in the passenger seat and loaded the rifle into the truck, state police said. He was attempting to get inside and reached to put the handgun in the center storage console when it fired, they said.
“There are lots and lot of flashing lights and lots of crime tape. There was a single shot, and then the police came,” Nicole Howard, whose family owns a business next door, recalled.
Loughrey was questioned by state police, who said he was cooperative but obviously distraught. The shooting is being investigated as an accident, but Loughrey could face charges of manslaughter and negligence.
“I know that little kid was everything to him,” Mark McLaughlin of Fredonia, a friend and co-worker of Loughrey’s at Superior Well Services in Fredonia, told the Tribune-Review.