Father charged after chasing daughter with clown mask: ‘I didn’t mean for this to happen’

BOARDMAN - A father facing charges for allegedly wearing a clown mask and chasing his 6-year-old child tells Fox 8 he loves his daughter and never wanted to hurt her.

Vernon Barrett Jr., was arrested this weekend after police say he wore an orange and tan clown mask and chased the girl from their apartment on Aravesta Avenue in Boardman to an apartment on Lemans Drive on Saturday evening.

"I didn't mean for this to happen," Barrett told Fox 8 by phone.

He told police he was trying to discipline the girl. He said the girl's mother is in prison for physically hurting her.

Barrett Jr. was charged with child endangerment and inducing panic.

A frantic woman called 911 saying the little girl was trying to get in her car, saying she was scared that a clown was chasing her. The woman told 911 she saw the man.

"He was wearing a stupid mask," the woman told 911. "He gave me a heart attack."

The girl than ran into a nearby apartment,a man inside the apartment, Dion Santiago, is alleged to have fired a shot near Barrett, and has been charged with using weapons while intoxicated.

No one was injured.

"This little girl ran into our apartment," Santiago told Fox 8 by phone. "She said a clown is chasing me and I looked and there was the clown. I was trying to protect her."

Santiago maintains he was not intoxicated. He was working Monday and unable to speak to us on-camera but says he plans to fight the charges.

Boardman Sgt. Charles Hillman says this is the first time he has ever had a case like this one.

"It's unusual," Hillman said.