By Jamison Hixenbaugh
ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – As multiple police agencies were investigating a shooting at Erie High School, Rep. Pat Harkins was walking his dog Barry, just several blocks away.
“Me and Barry always try to get a mile walk or run in at noon-time when I’m home.” said Harkins.
As they walked along W. 29th Street around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Harkins was approached.
“A car pulls up next to me, and I turn and he’s pointing an orange gun at me.” said Harkins.
Rep. Harkins says the passenger fired off six pellets, striking him three times in the stomach and hitting his dog in the hip.
“It’s just unbelievable that someone is that brazen to pull out a gun and shoot it at a person walking with an animal, at the height of all the turmoil with the high school shooting,” said Harkins. “It just defies all logic.”
Harkins believes the incident was part of a TikTok trend known as the Orbeez Shooting Challenge.
Those involved use toy guns with gel-ball bullets to conduct drive-by shootings on strangers.
“I was caught off guard and so dumbfounded,” said Harkins. “I just looked and instantly looked at his license plate as he drove away, very casually.”
Harkins then used a rock and wrote the plate number on a concrete step, and called 911.
“As the day wore on, I was notified by a couple of the police officers who were involved, that they had pulled somebody over in a sliver Honda on State Street.” said Harkins.
Rep. Harkins says he plans to press charges.
“I said I want to prosecute to the fullest extent, not so much for me, I wasn’t hurt, but to shoot an innocent animal and the potential for the future of somebody else doing this, maybe someone with a baby stroller, or an elderly person.” said Harkins.
Erie Police Deputy Chief Rick Lorah said the department is investigating the incident.