Man accused of punching child to the ground at mall during fight

Elise Solé
David Steven Bell (Photo: Asheville Police Department)
David Steven Bell (Photo: Asheville Police Department)

A man who allegedly punched a girl to the ground at a North Carolina mall has been charged with assault.

Police said David Steven Bell, 51, of Black Mountain, N.C., knocked out a girl younger than 12 outside the Asheville Mall when a group of kids started fighting, Asheville, N.C., news station WLOS reported. In a video posted online, the group surrounds a man and a girl wearing a black top pushes him. The same girl steps forward to confront him again and he pushes her away. When she charges at him, he knocks her out cold to the ground.

A shopper who was at the Asheville Mall on Saturday night but who did not witness the fight emailed Yahoo Lifestyle a longer video clip that shows the man yelling, “Break it up!” at the teens. “I have heard locally that there was a fight outside and Mr. Bell went to break it up,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “One of the girls got mad because he interfered, and it escalated from there.”

We are aware of the videos circulating on social media. The Asheville Police Department responded immediately and the…

Posted by Asheville Mall on Saturday, January 12, 2019

Christina Hallingse, a public information officer at the Asheville Police Department tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “On Saturday evening, a fight involving juveniles occurred at the Asheville Mall. During the course of the fight David Steven Bell, 51, of Black Mountain, pushed a juvenile, as well as struck her. An off-duty officer arrested Bell and he was charged with assault on a female under 12 and two counts of assault on a female. All victims refused transport to the hospital. The incident is under further investigation.”

In a police incident report sent to Yahoo Lifestyle, names and details about the parties were omitted. According to the Ashville Citizen-Times, all victims declined medical attention.

The shopper tells Yahoo Lifestyle that teens — not necessarily the ones featured in the video — regularly run amok in the mall being “loud and disrespectful” and making a mess in stores. “I just don’t understand how a parent can drop off their child at a mall and think it’s a safe environment.”

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