Douglas man arrested for attacking child over snowball fight

DOUGLAS, N.D. – Ward County deputies arrested a 68-year-old Douglas man Friday on charges he attacked a nine-year-old boy, knocking him unconscious, after he was hit by a snowball.

According to the criminal affidavit, the victim told investigators he and some friends were throwing snowballs at each other near the church in Douglas.

Gordon Van Hassel was walking his dog nearby, and someone threw a snowball at him, at which point the victim said Van Hassel threw rocks at the kids and shouted profanities at them.

He said Van Hassel ran towards him, pushing him into a truck, and then knocked him to the ground, repeatedly kicking him and smashing his face into the ground.

The boy had to be carried to his house on a sled, and had liquid in his abdomen, along with a injuries to his head and face.

The boy told deputies he feared for his life during the encounter.

Deputies went to Van Hassel’s home, and when asked if he knew why they were there, he said “For beating up that kid.

Van Hassel admitted at the jail to knocking the boy to the ground, and claimed the group of children were harassing him and throwing rocks and snowballs at him and his dog.

Van Hassel will make his initial appearance on the charge of aggravated assault, victim under 12, Oct. 15.

He faces up to ten years in prison if convicted on the B-felony charge.