A father decided to prank his six-year-old daughter by wearing a clown mask and chasing her. A nearby neighbor saw what was happening and fired off a gunshot.
Vernon Barrett Jr. wore a clown mask and chased his six-year-old daughter from their apartment on Aravesta Avenue to an apartment on Lemans Drive on Saturday, according to Boardman Police.
According to a police report, a woman called police saying a child who was being chased by a masked man ran in front of her car screaming and then jumped into her car.
Police were notified by dispatch that the child ran into someone’s apartment, as the front door was unlocked.
When the child ran into the apartment, she asked the family living there if she could stay because a clown was chasing her, the report said.
Dion Santiago, a member of the family, told police he looked out the window and saw Barrett Jr., still wearing the mask, standing outside of the building.
The report said Santiago fired his gun toward the yard of the building next door to scare him off, but Barrett Jr. was not hit by the gunshot.
When officers first arrived at the apartment, the report said Santiago was outside the building and pointed at Barrett Jr., saying, “That’s him right there, officer!”.
Officers went inside the building and another family member brought out the young girl, who told the officers she was being chased, the report said.
An officer tried to explain that the man was her father, but the girl still ran and hid in the back bedroom, the report said.
When Santiago came back outside with the officers, he and Barrett started screaming at each other, and Barrett Jr. yelled to Santiago, “I’ll catch you next week,” according to the report.
Santiago told police that he was nervous when he saw a man wearing a clown mask due to media coverage of people dressed as clowns chasing people.
Barrett Jr. told police that he was playing a prank on his daughter, and he didn’t know Santiago or his family.
According to the report, Barrett Jr. said he was trying to scare his daughter into behaving because she was having behavioral issues at school and home.
Barrett Jr. told an officer he can’t discipline his daughter after her mother went to jail for breaking her ribs and stepping on her, police said.
Barrett Jr. was charged with child endangerment and inducing panic. Santiago, who had a few beers before the incident, was charged with using weapons while intoxicated, the report said.
Both men are expected in court Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.
Clown masks will get you in trouble every single time. Leave them alone.