YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Dumont Police Chief Joseph L. Faulborn told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon that an 11-year-old youngster who didn’t realize the possible consequences was responsible for releasing pepper spray during a Saturday evening dinner at a Dumont church that sent two people to the hospital and sickened dozens of others.
“There was no criminal intent,” Faulborn said. “[She] sprayed it into a cloth, and just wanted to see what it would do…. It’s not the same concentration as police would carry. It’s a lesser grade.”
Once it got into the air at the Living Word Community Church gym/hall on East Madison Aveune, however, it sickened several people — as well as one of Faulborn’s officers who were the first on the scene.
Two victims were taken to Englewood Hospital and dozens of others were treated at what became a mass triage scene after they reported having either trouble breathing, chest pains or sore throats (SEE: Pepper spray suspected in Dumont church incident that sickened dozens).
The following morning the youngster’s parents came to police headquarters, Faulborn said.
They brought the store-bought can, which comes in a carrying case, he said. A published report indicated that the girl’s mother may have given it to her for protection following a stalking scare in town.
The chief said the youngster “was really upset. With all the chaos that night, the child was afraid. [She] didn’t know what to expect after all the commotion.
“There’s no need for charges here, given [the] age and the circumstances,” Faulborn said.
NOTE: A previous version of this story identified the youngster as a boy.
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