A Pittsburgh man is behind bars after a 3-year-old girl allegedly accidentally shot herself with is shotgun. Marlin Pritchard, 52 says that he was asleep early this morning when he woke after hearing a loud bang. He said he saw one child jump and run from his bed but the other child didn't move. When he moved to check on her he noticed she'd been shot in the neck with a shotgun that he kept under his pillow.
According to the Post-Gazette "Officers initially responded to a call for “unknown trouble” at 1:20 a.m. at 258 East Warrington Avenue.
Two adult witnesses were standing outside in the rear when officers arrived and said someone may have been shot inside.
Police entered the rear door, found Pritchard in a bedroom and took him into custody. They then found the little girl lying unresponsive in the bed.
Police drove Pritchard to police headquarters where they said he confessed.
According to the affidavit, he said he had left for a contracting job at about 2:30 p.m. and drank a 24-ounce beer on the way. He came back around 8 or 9 but didn’t drink any more, he said. He had also been taking Vicodin for dental pain, although he said he hadn’t had one since Thursday.
Pritchard lay down in his bed while the 3-year-old and the other child watched movies. He said he kept the gun under his pillow because people were out to get him. He said a couple for whom he had done contracting work had come to his house on Saturday morning to complain about his work and threaten him, which is why he had the gun under his pillow. He said he had also been involved in an ongoing dispute for a year with someone named “Vic.”
Pritchard said he was sleeping on the left side of the bed with the two children on the right side, with the television on, when the gun went off."
After the shooting the other adults in the home say that Pritchard took the gun outside and set it "against some tires" then went back into the house and held the little girl sobbing and begging her to wake up.
Pritchard was taken into custody telling authorities "This is my fault" as he was taken away. Pritchard, who is a felon, has been charged with homicide, endangering the welfare of children and weapons offenses.
This is a horrible accident and we urge everyone to keep their firearms in a safe place, away from children, and where no one who shouldn't have access to them can get them.
Our prayers are with Pritchard and the family of this child. This is going to be a hard burden to bear.