Local News


CONTACT 13: Stranger hurts child at indoor playground

Posted at 10:45 PM, Feb 16, 2017

A stranger hurts a child at a playground. The whole thing is caught on camera. 

And the cops can't do a thing. 

Contact 13 explains why police could tell you to let it go when someone else crosses the line.

The giggles and screams of excited children provide the soundtrack for fun at Kangamoo indoor playground on East Sunset Road. 

But for the Eukel family on a recent visit there, the fun came to a screeching halt.  

"We were there playing and my son ran up to me with his hands over his face, crying, and said 'Mom, somebody hurt me,'" said Lisa Eukel.

In Kangamoo's surveillance video, you can see 6-year-old Dominick coming around a corner pushing a plastic car toward another child. 

That child's father then kicks the car, which goes backward into Dominick's face, bloodying his nose.

"He kicked the car, the front of it, and it backed -- it was in the air and it hit my nose," said Dominick. "It felt like it was on fire."

The man who kicked the car pushes it out of the way and walks into another room as Dominick runs to his mother and his friend covers his mouth in shock. 

After the bleeding stopped, Dominick's nose was swollen and slightly bruised for several days, but not broken.

"As I watched it happen, my jaw dropped," said Lisa. "I thought, oh my gosh!  How could someone do that?"

The way she sees it in the video, "That was not an accident. That was not, 'I'm protecting my son.' That is a 'Get out of my way.'"

Kangamoo owners Mimi and Shawn Wachter see it the same way.

"Definitely unacceptable," said Shawn Wachter.

"If this happened anywhere in the valley, I would hope business people would jump in, hold people accountable," added Mimi Wachter.

Two staff members documented the incident in an internal report after confronting the dad who kicked the car, saying he was "unapologetic and made it clear it was intentional."

"Yeah. He just walked away, didn't care," said Shawn.

"He's a 6-year-old boy," Lisa said. "There was other ways, looking at that video, that I think I would have handled that situation."

Contact 13 visited Kangamoo and found what may look like a blind corner in the surveillance video in fact isn't blind at all. 

You can see all the way around before you even come around, and there are multiple opportunities to react.

"Pick your kid up if you think your kid's going to get hurt," said Shawn, who's also a father. "Pick him up!"

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was called. Staff handed officers a witness statement, saying the dad in the video accused Dominick of running over other kids and that he "stopped the car with a deliberate forward kick." 

Staff also said the dad was very glib and felt his response "wasn't inappropriate."

Lisa Eukel says, "As a parent, I don't see how that would ever be an appropriate reaction to anybody's child."

"But does it rise to the level of a criminal act? I think it would be a very difficult call," said 13 Action News Crime and Safety Expert and retired LVMPD Lt. Randy Sutton.

We showed Sutton the surveillance video, and both he and the officers who responded to Kangamoo say there's no case because there's no criminal intent.

So when it's child endangerment or an action like that, you have to intend to hurt the kid?

"Or you have to act in such an irresponsible way that you could foresee an injury taking place," Sutton says.

Lisa believes, "If I had pushed a car into my son's face and given him a bloody nose -- left him there bleeding and then acted like, oh well, he deserved it -- I would be in trouble for child abuse-- for abusing my own child. So how is it okay for another person, a stranger, to discipline my child in that way?"

"I think what he did was he saw a threat to his child, reacted quickly, but at that point then you... You render aid!" said Sutton, who says that's where the problem lies.

"Once it was brought to his attention, you know, you have a responsibility to act like an adult. Unfortunately, I think that's one of the things we see in society all the time now. Adults not acting like adults."

The dad in the video wouldn't go on camera. His family says he was only trying to protect his son and they're sorry Dominick got hurt.