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Article updated: 12/8/2012 5:53 PM

Police: Boy, 7, shot to death at gun store

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By Associated Press

MERCER, Pa. -- A man's handgun went off while he was holding it as he got into his truck in the parking lot of a western Pennsylvania gun store Saturday and the shot killed his 7-year-old son, authorities said.

Joseph V. Loughrey, 44, was getting into the truck when the 9 mm handgun discharged, wounding 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. Store owner Leonard Mohney said the boy was shot in the parking lot, but that he didn't see what happened.

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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.

Joseph Loughrey was questioned by state police, who said he was cooperative and distraught. The shooting is being investigated as an accident.

Messages left for the coroner's office and at a listing in Loughrey's name were not immediately returned.

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