Officers in Berea, Ohia were called to the 7 Floors of Hell haunted house at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds at 8:15 PM Saturday after an 11-year-old boy was stabbed in the foot.
According to a police report, staff members said the boy was there with a family friend and suffered a cut on his left big toe. Witnesses said one of the actors at the haunted house was using a large Bowie knife to scare people. The 22-year-old actor, identified as Christopher Pogozelski, was allegedly scraping the knife on the ground, then began to stab the ground at the boy’s feet. The knife penetrated the boy’s Croc-style shoe and sliced the side of his big toe.
The boy’s mother Karen Bednarski told News 5 Cleveland, "He walked up to my son and he was holding the knife and his intentions were to scare him, but my son responded to him by saying, 'That's fake. I'm not scared.'"
Bednarski told the outlet that one of the adults with her son Frank called her and she called police.
She added that after the incident the staff "…just kept saying accidents happen, accidents happen." She claimed the staff initially said, "…they were not certified to administer first aid," before eventually dressing the wound.
The knife was confiscated from the actor by police who brought it from home and was using it instead of prop knives provided by the attraction. According to the police report, he admitted to officers that "using the knife was not a good idea and that the injury was an accident." The knife was confiscated as evidence in connection with the incident.
Rodney Geffert, president of Night Scream Entertainment which owns the attraction, told News 5 that actors are not permitted to touch customers and can only use the rubber props provided by the company. He added that Pogozelski grabbed the Bowie knife from his car without the knowledge of other staff.
After the incident, the group continued through the haunted house. Geffert claimed Bednarski asked for a ticket and seemed excited to go into the attractions and that the group's tickets were upgraded and they enjoyed the rest of the attractions. Bernarski denied the claim and said the tickets were offered to her because she didn’t want to leave her son, who declined going to a hospital for treatment.
Officers were told that Pogozelski's mother asked for the knife back, but was denied because the knife would be in police property if needed for a criminal case and would be released at a later date.
Bednarski told police later that she wanted to pursue charges against the actor. Lt. Tom Walker with the Berea Police Department confirmed to News 5 that Pogozelski has been charged with negligent assault.