Man, 68, hit by snowball attacks 9-year-old boy, police say

A 68-year-old man attacked a 9-year-old boy after being hit with a snowball, police said.

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Gordon Van Hassel was walking his dog by a group of children who were having a snowball fight Friday when he was hit, the Grand Forks Herald reported.

The group told investigators Van Hassel then threw rocks and shouted expletives at them, KFYR reported. Investigators said he chased the group and was able to catch the 9-year-old boy. Van Hassel pushed the child into a truck and to the ground before repeatedly kicking him, investigators said. The boy lost consciousness during the attack, according to investigators.

The boy was taken to a hospital. Investigators said that, when they talked to him, he was unable to walk on his left leg and was in pain.

Investigators said they went to Van Hassel’s home to interview him. They said they asked if he knew why they were there, and he replied: “For beating up that kid."

Van Hassel told investigators the children had harassed him -- by throwing rocks and snowballs at him and his dog, KFYR reported.

Van Hassel was arrested and charged with aggravated assault of a victim under the age of 12, investigators said.

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