An Ohio man is in hot water for allegedly putting on a clown mask and chasing his 6-year-old daughter throughout the neighborhood in a misguided attempt to discipline her, WKBN (Youngstown) is reporting. What’s more, the man’s behavior allegedly led to a terrified neighbor firing off warning shots.
The incident began on Saturday afternoon. Authorities say that Vernon Barrett Jr., of Boardman, wanted to discipline his 6-year-old daughter for unspecified “behavioral problems” at home and at school. Being unwilling to employ other disciplinary methods for reasons that will be made clear in a few paragraphs, Barrett instead chose to put on a scary clown mask and pretend to chase the young girl throughout the neighborhood.
In a panic, the girl ran into a stranger’s car. That stranger, a female, called the police.
Still allegedly being chased by the clown, the girl ran into a stranger’s apartment, and told the occupants that she was being chased by a clown. That stranger, later identified as Dion Santiago, looked out his window, saw Barrett standing there in his clown mask, and allegedly fired his gun into the ground in Barrett’s general direction. No one was hit.
When police turned up, Santiago pointed Barrett out to the cops.
“That’s him right there, officer!”
During questioning, Barrett allegedly admitted to chasing the young girl around while dressed as a clown. However, Barrett said he was low on options when it came to disciplining the girl. He claims that the girl’s mother is currently in prison for breaking four of the girl’s ribs and stepping on her. For these reasons, Barrett didn’t want to spank her. Instead, according to police, Barrett tried to use the clown incident as punishment.
Barrett faces charges of child endangerment and inducing panic. In Ohio, according to the Columbus law firm of Luftman, Heck and Associates, child endangerment can be treated as anything from a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail, on up to a second-degree felony, punishable up to 8 years prison. It is not clear, as of this writing, whether Barrett has been charged with a felony or misdemeanor.
Barrett also faces charges of inducing panic, which can also be treated as either a felony or misdemeanor, according to Lawriter.
Meanwhile, Dion Santiago is himself in trouble with the law for his actions that night. Santiago allegedly admitted to having had “a few beers” that night. What’s more, police said they smelled alcohol on his breath. He has been charged with using weapons while intoxicated.
Both Barrett and Santiago are due in court on Tuesday morning.
[Featured Image by Jonah_H/Thinkstock]