Man Sentenced
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A Centre County man was sentenced Friday for charges involving an accidental shooting that occurred over two years ago and permanently blinded one of his children. The shooting occurred at the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Scotia shooting range, about 10 miles outside State College. In January 2017, Anthony Vankirk Jr. was on the range with his children. Vankirk was born in north Philadelphia and had a rough childhood in a rough neighborhood. He eventually moved to central Pennsylvania, got his GED diploma and operated a barbershop in State College. His life was getting better, but there was one problem: Vankirk was a convicted felon because of a drug conviction. He wasn't allowed to be around firearms at all. Then, that day in 2017, came a horrific reminder that lives can change in an instant. At the shooting range, one of his children fired a pistol. The bullet ricocheted off the ground and hit Vankirk's son in the head. The 15-year-old is now permanently blind. Police used a search warrant and found various weapons at Vankirk's home and he was charged with illegally possessing firearms. Vankirk has been involved in other litigation since the shooting, but recently pleaded Guilty to several of the charges. Prosecutors wanted him to serve at least four years in a state prison, but a Centre County judge decided on a two- to five-year sentence. Vankirk apologized and the judge said he hopes Vankirk can serve in the prison boot camp sentence to help his rehabilitation.