05/08/2013 02:53 pm ET

Thomas Grant Shoots Cousin Dressed As Skunk, Gets Probation

A Pennsylvania man who shot his young cousin in the shoulder after confusing her for a skunk will get probation.

Thomas Grant, 24, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of assault and reckless endangerment on Monday. He also admitted shooting his 9-year-old cousin at a Halloween party on Oct. 20, 2012.

Grant said he thought the girl, who was wearing a black costume with a white tail, was a skunk, WPXI-TV reported.

A judge ruled in February that prosecutors could not proceed with the most serious charge of aggravated assault, according to WTAE-TV.

Grant will serve a two-year probation and pay restitution to the victim’s family. His hunting privileges have also been revoked during his probation, the Beaver County Times reported.

The incident occurred during a hide-and-seek game at a Halloween party. The victim, who was in a black costume with a white feather or tassel on her hat, was lying face down and motionless when Grant shot her, thinking she was a skunk.

Grant's mother later told officers that she had seen a skunk earlier in the event and asked him to shoot it.

"He is extremely devastated by the actions that took place. I mean, it's a tragic incident that occurred," Police Chief Ronald Leindecker said after the shooting, according to the New York Daily News. "It's not something that he dreamed would ever happen."



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