An Ohio man has been arrested after he allegedly wore a clown mask and chased his daughter, causing a neighbor to fire his gun.
Vernon Barrett Jr. was charged with child endangerment and inducing panic after he reportedly put on a clown mask and chased his 6-year-old daughter from the family's home in Boardman, Ohio, according to WKBN.
A woman called police to tell them a child being chased by a masked man ran in front of her car screaming before jumping in to her car, said a police report. Police were told the girl had gone into someone's apartment, asking the family if she could hide there because a clown was chasing her.
Dion Santiago, who lives at the apartment that the girl ran to, reported that he saw a man wearing a mask outside of the building and fired his gun to scare him off.
Barrett was not hit by the gunshot.
According to the police report, when officers arrived at the scene, Santiago pointed to Barrett and said, "That's him right there, officer!"
Another family member brought out the young girl. The girl ran and hid inside even after an officer explained the clown was her father.
Santiago and Barrett began to shout at each other, and Barrett reportedly yelled "I'll catch you next week," at the man. Barrett and Santiago say they do not know one another.
Santiago was also charged with using weapons while intoxicated, after saying he had a few beers before the incident took place.
Barrett said he was trying to scare his daughter, who was having behavioral problems at school. He added that he was having trouble disciplining her after the girl's mother was arrested for stepping on her and breaking her ribs.
He said he wanted to try scaring her instead of spanking her, because of what her mother had done, according to WEWS.
Santiago said he was alarmed by seeing a man wearing a clown mask because of reports by the media about clowns attacking people.
Throughout 2016, clown sightings were reported in more than 30 states, with some proving to be dangerous, Heavy reports.
The sightings started in August 2016, when residents in South Carolina reported seeing at least one person in a clown costume trying to lure children into the woods by offering money.
In September 2016, a clown reportedly chased a 12-year-old through a park in Pennsylvania. In October 2016, police caught three teenagers wearing clown masks and holding a gun near a Babies R Us.
Professional clowns took issue with the creepy clown trend, saying it made them seem dangerous.
"Everyone took this as a joke, but it's really becoming serious now, and I just want all these teenagers to know this is not a game anymore," said one clown.