A father shot and killed his 7-year-old son Saturday morning outside a Pennsylvania gun store in what police described as a tragic accident, authorities said.
The Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the death as an accidental shooting and are awaiting the results of the results of an autopsy.
“It’s just a tragedy — it’s terrible,” Pennsylvania State Trooper Robert Perrine told the Los Angeles Times. He declined to comment further.
The shooting occurred Saturday morning in the parking lot of Twigs Reloading Den in Mercer, Pa. Police said the gun fired as Joseph Loughrey, 44, and his son Craig were entering their vehicle.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Loughrey told police he had emptied the magazine of his 9-millimeter Taurus handgun, and he didn’t know there was a bullet in the chamber. The gun discharged and his son was struck in the chest.
State police said Loughrey was cooperative and distraught during questioning, the newspaper reported.
“I know that little kid was everything to him,” Mark McLaughlin, Loughrey’s friend and co-worker, told the newspaper.
State Police Lt. Eric Hermick told the Tribune-Review that the man could face such charges as manslaughter and negligence.