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Haunted House Character Wields Real Knife, Stabs 11-Year-Old at Ohio County Fairgrounds: Reports

Police in Berea, Ohio say a man playing a haunted house character at a county fairgrounds brought this knife from home and accidentally stabbed a boy.

Police in Berea, Ohio say a man playing a haunted house character at a county fairgrounds brought this knife from home and accidentally stabbed a boy.

An actor working at a haunted house in Ohio is the subject of a police investigation after he allegedly stabbed an 11-year-old boy in the foot by accident, several local news outlets reported on Friday.

According to the reports, the 22-year-old actor from Middleburg Heights was working at a haunted house at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds on Sept. 18 when he accidentally put a knife through the Brook Park boy’s foot at approximately 8 p.m.  Cleveland, Ohio ABC affiliate WEWS-TV identified the actor as Christopher Pogozelski.

A police report obtained by Columbus, Ohio CBS affiliate WBNS-TV said that officers were dispatched to the Seven Floors of Hell haunted house approximately 15 minutes after the alleged stabbing took place.  A 911 call placed by the boy’s mother and obtained by WBNS suggested that the knife looked rusty and unsanitary.

First responders reportedly spoke with the boy, who said he and several of his friends were approached by an actor wielding a Bowie-style knife just outside of the haunted house. The man first scraped the ground with the weapon before attempting to stab at the ground around the boy’s foot “when he accidentally stabbed into the boy’s red croc and cut his toe.” The knife reportedly went through the boy’s shoe and into his toe.

The haunted house supplied the actors with fake weapons, but the actor chose not to use one of the provided props and instead brought his own personal knife from home, reported.

Per the police report, officers observed that the boy’s toe was bleeding and applied first aid before calling his mother.

The boy’s mother arrived at the fairgrounds a short while later. When the police asked her if she was planning on taking her child to the hospital, the boy reportedly protested and said that he wanted to remain at the haunted house with his friends.

The actor who stabbed the boy reportedly acknowledged to the police that it was not a good idea to have brought and used a real knife while working at the haunted house.  However, he maintained that he never intended for anyone to get hurt.

This image of the boy's injuries was released by the Berea, Ohio Police Department.

This image of the boy’s injuries was released by the Berea, Ohio Police Department.

Officers did not make an arrest, but they did confiscate the knife.

However, reported that later on that same evening, the actor’s mother phoned the police station and demanded that his knife be returned. Officers informed the woman that they had to hold on to the knife until a final decision was made concerning possible charges being filed against her son, telling her that if no charges were filed the knife would be returned.

WEWS-TV in Cleveland reported that the injured boy’s mother decided eventually to press charges.  According to that television station’s report, a negligent assault summons was sent to Pogozelski at the boy’s mother’s request.

“I don’t understand the mental state of this man,” Karen Bednarski, the injured boy’s mother, told WEWS. “There’s got to be something wrong with him, and he should not be working at an establishment like that. That’s what makes me upset.”

Rodney Geffert, the president of the company which owns the haunted house, told the television station that his actor “got a little too close.”

“It was a complete accident and poked the boy’s toe,” Geffert continued.

He also said that Pogozelski worked as a freelancer and had retrieved the real life without the company’s knowledge.  He told WEWS that his actors are not allowed to touch customers and that they are only supposed to use rubber props supplied by the employer.

[images via the Berea Police Dept.]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.