The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

January 16, 2013

Dad won’t be charged in fatal shooting

MERCER COUNTY — The man who accidentally shot and killed his 7-year-old son on Dec. 8 in the parking lot of an East Lackawannock Township gun store won’t face criminal charges, Mercer County District Attorney Robert G. Kochems said Tuesday.

Joseph V. Loughrey, 44, of Jefferson Township, could have been charged with a misdemeanor for carrying a firearm without a license, Kochems said.

The evidence in the case doesn’t support the charge, Kochems said. “Mr. Loughrey’s shooting of his son was a tragic accident.”

Craig Allen Loughrey died in the parking lot of Twig’s Re-Loading Den, 8388 Sharon-Mercer Road.

The father and son stopped at the store at about 11 a.m. because Loughrey wanted to sell a rifle and a 9 mm handgun. He was leaving after securing the rifle in the back of his pickup and had placed the pistol on the console when it went off, hitting Craig in the chest.

Mercer County Coroner J. Bradley McGonigle pronounced the boy dead at the scene at 11:40 a.m. and ruled the manner of death accidental.

Loughrey thought the magazine was empty but he didn’t realize there was a bullet still in the chamber, he told investigators.

Kochems issued a lengthy news release Tuesday and said he would not elaborate further.

“The evidence … shows that Mr. Loughrey recognized that he could not carry a loaded firearm in his vehicle and believed he unloaded the firearm at home before taking it to the dealer to attempt to sell it and another weapon,” Kochems wrote. “Mr. Loughrey’s attention was not entirely focused on the handling and transportation of the firearm.”

Kochems’ news release went on to say:

Loughrey’s weapon was stored in a locked location in his home without the magazine in the pistol. He unloaded the magazine before leaving his home. The pistol had been stored in that manner since he had shot it this past summer. He only owned the weapon for the past two years and rarely practiced with it. He had failed to clear the chamber of the cartridge that caused his son’s death the last time he had fired the pistol and did not do so when he picked it up months later and took it to sell.

The purpose of the crime of firearms not to be carried without a license is not to allow an individual to have a loaded firearm in a vehicle or concealed on his person without a license.

Loughrey’s lack of attention to his firearm, his lack of understanding, practice and/or training in what was required to store the firearm unloaded and his then carrying it in his vehicle loaded would allow the filing of the foregoing charge.

Loughrey had a mistaken but good faith belief that he had properly secured and stored the firearm unloaded in his home and his belief was the proximate cause of the death of his son and not that he was carrying the firearm in his vehicle.

“Therefore, I have determined not to authorize the filing of the criminal charge of ‘firearms not to be carried without a license’,” Kochems wrote.

“I am determined that our community learns from this tragedy through rational discussion and not become distracted by a polarizing criminal case,” he said. “I believe we have a constitutional right to own firearms and I own a number myself.

“I do not believe that firearms should be owned without the personal commitment to the responsibilities of that ownership,” Kochems wrote. “Persons who make the decision to own a firearm for personal protection must recognize that their primary purpose in owning the firearm is to kill someone or something.

“They have an obligation to know how the firearm works not just on the day they purchase it but on every occasion that they touch it and always remembering its purpose. Every training class tells a responsible firearm owner to store the weapon unloaded. As this case demonstrates, you must know how to unload your firearm to follow this maxim.

“It is why a common mantra is to treat every firearm as if it were loaded. The training is disingenuous because an unloaded firearm is of no use in many personal protection situations, nor is an unloaded firearm with a loaded magazine or cartridges next to the weapon safe from inexperienced persons, especially children.”

Accidents can happen, as this tragic case shows, and Kochems said he believes accidents, injuries and deaths will be reduced “if we engage in a conscious discussion of responsible firearms ownership.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • News briefs from April 24, 2014

    April 24, 2014

  • Bus cameras will be listening, too

    Hermitage School District is taking advantage of a recently enacted exemption to the state’s wiretap law in allowing officials to turn on the audio recording capability on school bus and vehicle video cameras.

    April 24, 2014

  • Union, city OK 4-year contract

    Hermitage’s nonuniformed employees have a new four-year contract that gives them average pay hikes of 2.5 percent a year and the opportunity to live outside the city limits, while allowing administrators more flexibility in scheduling.

    April 24, 2014

  • 2 principals to be hired

    Sharpsville Area school directors needed a shove to make a decision but the board voted Tuesday to interview candidates and hire two principals for 2014-15.

    April 24, 2014

  • Prison term upheld for sex offender

    A sex offender challenging a 4- to 8-year prison sentence for a probation violation lost an appeal of that sentence.

    April 23, 2014

  • Man, 24, must register as sex offender for life

    The Ohio man who exposed himself to Sharon girls on their way to school last fall must register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life when he gets out of jail.

    April 23, 2014

  • Man deemed predator – for now

    A former Sharon man was sent to the state prison system Tuesday for corrupting the morals of a teenage girl, but the question of whether his penalties under Megan’s Law will stand could be subject to future legal proceedings.

    April 23, 2014

  • Not even waste will be wasted

    Tom Darby admits he wishes the startup of the anaerobic digestion process at the Hermitage Water Pollution Control Plant had moved along much faster.

    April 23, 2014

  • 3rd Earth Fest draws families to Penn State

    Penn State Shenango’s Earth Fest has become a spring tradition for area residents.
    Families poured into downtown Sharon for the campus’ third annual sustainability celebration.

    April 22, 2014

  • Amish clean Shenango River Volunteers protect Shenango River

    Shenango River Watchers has spent more than a decade working to clean up the Shenango and improve recreational access to its water and banks.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • For many, recycling’s become way of life

    When Pennsylvania mandated curbside recycling for its larger municipalities in 1998 – those with more than 5,000 people – there was grumbling about government interference in the lives of everyday people.

    April 22, 2014

  • Many items can’t be thrown away

    The computer screen in front of you isn’t likely to do you much harm, at least not until it’s tossed in a landfill where the lead-filled components start to leak and eventually find their way into your drinking water, according to Jerry Zona, director of the Lawrence-Mercer County Recycling/Solid Waste department.

    April 22, 2014

  • David Sykes' solar panels Earthworks

    While touring Germany last year, David Sykes spotted solar panels resting in a residential back yard.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Burned using Icy Hot, woman claims

    A Grove City woman has sued Chattem Inc. and Rite Aid of Pennsylvania Inc., alleging she suffered a second-degree chemical burn using one of Chattem’s Icy Hot pain relief products.

    April 21, 2014

  • Family outing Family friendly

    “We’re No. 5’’ isn’t a sports cheer you’ll hear any time soon.
    But considering the lumps the greater area has gotten over the years on economic rankings, it’s an outright victory.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
AP Video
Sharonheraldnewspaper Facebook Page