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Press Release

Felon with Violent History Admits Illegally Possessing Gun Used by Child, 3, to Accidentally Shoot Herself

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Pittsburgh, PA, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Paul Anthony Parrish, 43, pleaded guilty to one count before Chief United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that the investigation into Parrish’s illegal possession of a firearm began on March 12, 2017 when a three-year-old child was brought to Allegheny General Hospital, by private means, with a gunshot wound to her chest. The child died from the gunshot wound soon after. Pittsburgh Bureau of Police officers and detectives ultimately determined that Parrish’s residence on Mount Washington was the likely crime scene. In the residence, they found Parrish watching TV on the living room couch, and he directed officers to the second floor, where they observed blood stains and recovered a Ruger, model SR9 pistol. The investigation revealed that the victim had likely found the firearm and accidentally shot herself, and that Parrish had had possession and control of that firearm for three months leading up to the child’s death. At the time, Parrish had received four separate prior convictions for felony offenses that prohibited him from possessing a firearm: voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, and fleeing and attempting to elude police.

Chief Judge Hornak scheduled sentencing for February 13, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of ten years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

The Court ordered the defendant detained pending the Court’s decision on filings by the parties.

Assistant United States Attorneys Douglas C. Maloney and Ross E. Lenhardt are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Parrish.

Updated October 25, 2019

Firearms Offenses