Dad told police he left 6-month-old in car while gambling

Review Journal
Dad told police he left 6-month-old in car while gambling
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A father was arrested last week in North Las Vegas after police said he went into a casino to gamble for 30 minutes while his infant son sat in a sweltering car.

Mitchel Hooks, 39, was arrested July 16 and charged with a felony count of child abuse, according to court documents.

Officers were called at 10:15 p.m. on July 16 to the Bighorn Casino, 3016 E Lake Mead Blvd., after a woman told casino security she saw a baby crying inside a car in the parking lot, according to an arrest report from the North Las Vegas Police Department. The vehicle was not running.

Body camera footage from the department shows a security guard telling police that the door of the SUV was unlocked when he approached, and the baby was already screaming. An officer douses cold water over the infant, who stops screaming when the officer picks him up.

In the footage, a firefighter can be heard telling police, “He’s warm to the touch.”

The father approached the SUV moments later and told police he left his 6-month-old son in the car with the window rolled down while he went inside to use the bathroom, according to the arrest report.

Police said the driver’s window was rolled down four inches and all other windows were up. It was 100 degrees outside at the time, police said.

Hooks later changed his story and told police he was inside for about 30 minutes gambling, which police confirmed with surveillance footage from inside the casino.

Officers noted in the report that medical personnel said the baby did not appear injured.

Police spokesman Alex Cuevas said the baby was taken to a hospital for assessment and later released to his mother.

Hooks posted bail on July 19 and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Oct. 26.

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