An Ohio man who tried to discipline his 6-year-old daughter by chasing her around in a clown mask has been charged after she ran screaming to a stranger's apartment - prompting that neighbor to fire a gunshot into the air, police say.
The incident occurred when 25-year-old Vernon Barrett Jr. donned a clown mask and began chasing his young daughter outside their apartment in Boardman Township, a suburb of Youngstown, Ohio.
It was supposed to be a prank, Barrett later told police, a way to get the child to behave without resorting to spanking. A police report did not specify why he was trying to discipline his daughter that day.
The child was placed in the custody of Barrett's girlfriend while Barrett was detained, police said.
Barrett told officers that his daughter's mother was in prison for child endangerment after she had stepped on the child and broken several of her ribs, according to the incident report.
"Barrett said due to this he cannot discipline his daughter and reported they have been having behavior problems with J.B. at school and home," the report stated. "Barrett said that he decided to use the clown mask into scaring her to behave" but that the "prank" got out of hand.