PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A man is facing charges after a child was found asleep next to a gas can in his SUV while he was inside a Homewood nightclub.
According to police, the vehicle was parked in the 6500 block of Hamilton Street near the Serenity Night Club around 2:27 a.m.
Officers observed a 2-year-old child sleeping next to a red gas can. Police noted it was 55 degrees outside and the vehicle was not running. Police later determined that there was still gas in the can.
“Our officers are on what we call proactive foot patrol, knowing that often there are activities going on that time of the morning in that area that are criminal,” said Pittsburgh Police spokeswoman Sonya Toler.
A computer search identified the owner of the Range Rover as 32-year old Dewitt Harrell, Jr., of Gahanna, Ohio. Officers were also able to get his description and a photo, then they waited for him to come out of the club.
The child in the back seat turned out to Harrell’s 2-year-old daughter and the five-gallon can was half full with gasoline. Officers say it was right near the child’s head.
“When the officers opened the door, they say they smelled the odor of the gasoline,” Toler said.
According to police, when Harrell walked out of the club and saw the officers across the street, he went back inside, but eventually came out a second time.
He was immediately arrested. According to the criminal complaint, Harrell began yelling at officers that he wanted to see his daughter and then began resisting arrest.
Harrell is facing a list of charges including, endangering the welfare of children and resisting arrest. Harrell was also wanted on a bench warrant in Ohio. He was taken to the Allegheny County Jail.
The toddler was taken to Children’s Hospital and is said to be fine. CYF is now supervising.