Teen shot spotlighting in rural Fayette County
Uniontown, Pa. (AP) - A 17-year-old girl was recovering from emergency surgery in late November after being shot on a deer-spotting trip in rural Fayette County by a man frustrated with poaching.
Cortney Snyder was spotlighting with her father, Rick Snyder, late on a Sunday night, when the girl was hit with the spray from a 12 gauge shotgun.
State Police said Jeremy James Pritts, 35, of Normalville, admitted to firing shots because he said he was “frustrated with spotting and poaching in the area.”
Snyder told police that she was in a pickup truck with her father, mother and another person on Foxburg Road when she saw a flash, heard a bang and fell over.
She still has pellets lodged in her fingers, knuckles, right arm and face. She had to undergo open-heart surgery to remove one of the pellets from her heart.
Her sister, Nikki, said her life may have been saved by her thick sweatshirt.
“Where she was penetrated there was thick stitching, and the pellet went through the stitching and slowed it down enough that it didn’t puncture her heart,” Nikki Snyder said.
Pritts was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment. He admitted that he used a 12 gauge Mossberg pump-action shotgun.
Investigators say pellets from the shotgun struck Cortney Snyder in the arms, face, chest and abdomen. Her parents called an ambulance from their nearby home.
Pritts was released on bail two days later following his arraignment. Court records don’t list an attorney for him.
“I’m feeling pretty rough,” Cortney Snyder said from her hospital bed at UPMC Mercy the day after her surgery. “The thing that hurts the most is my chest and my hands.”