A man in Boardman, Ohio has been charged with child endangering and inducing panic after a bizarre incident over the weekend. He allegedly chased his 6-year-old daughter around their neighborhood while wearing a clown mask, an act that resulted in another man firing off a gun.
According to CBS affiliate WKBN-TV, police said that Vernon Barrett Jr. was chasing his daughter while wearing a clown mask to discipline her for behavioral issues. Police said the girl fled from her masked father and jumped into a stranger’s car while screaming that a clown was chasing her. After that, she ran into a stranger’s apartment and asked the home’s family if she could stay with them because a clown was chasing her. Dion Santiago, a member of that family, later told police he looked out the window and saw Barrett Jr., wearing the clown mask, standing outside of the building. Santiago then allegedly fired his gun towards the yard of the building next door to scare him off. Barrett Jr. was not hit by the gunshot.
When police arrived, an officer tried to explain to the child that the man wearing the mask was her father. However, the girl did not want to leave the back bedroom of Santiago’s home.
According to News5Cleveland, Barrett said the girl's mother is serving jail time for child endangerment after she was convicted of breaking four of the little girl's ribs, WKBN reports. The father reportedly told police that he decided frightening his daughter instead of physically assaulting her was a better option.
Santiago has been charged with using weapons while intoxicated, according to police. He allegedly drank a few beers before discharging the weapon. Santiago told police that he was scared when he saw a man wearing a clown mask because he had seen media coverage of people dressed as clowns chasing people.
[Photo: Boardman Township Police Department]