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Levar Dawson of Pompano Beach, Florida Arrested for Aggravated Assault with a Firearm

Levar Dawson of Pompano Beach, Florida was arrested Monday after he allegedly pointed a handgun at his two daughters and threatened to kill them, news sources report. Dawson, 35, was booked into the Broward County Main Jail on a multitude of charges: aggravated assault with a firearm, aggravated child abuse with cruelty, domestic violence, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, resisting arrest, burglary, and drug possession. His bail was set at $180,200. It is not yet known whether he has retained a criminal defense lawyer .

According to reports, the incident began around 7:30 Monday evening when Dawson went to see his two daughters. A 15-year-old babysitter was reportedly watching the girls at the time. Sources say Dawson had gotten into an argument with his daughters’ mother over support payment prior to the incident.

Dawson reportedly knocked on the home’s door and the babysitter greeted him. Reports say the two daughters ran up to Dawson to say hello; however, Dawson only exchanged a few short words before he allegedly pulled out a handgun, pointed it at his two daughters, and threatened to kill him. One of the daughters later told police that Dawson aimed the gun upwards before pointing it at her and her sister.

Alarmed, the babysitter closed the door on Dawson, locked it, and dialed 911. Sources say Dawson fled the scene in his green Range Rover. According to reports, Dawson called his daughters’ mother sometime following the incident and reportedly dared detectives to come and place him under arrest; reports say a detective was listening to the phone call from the mother’s end.

Detectives kept a watch out for Dawson near his home in the 2700 block of Northwest 4th Street and one officer purportedly spotted Dawson’s SUV as it pulled into the driveway of a neighbor’s home. According to police, Dawson exited his vehicle and went into the neighbor’s home without permission. He reportedly asked the neighbor to hide him from police. The neighbor did not cooperate and officers found Dawson in the home’s living room. Reports say Dawson fought off the officers and was eventually placed in restraints.

Following Dawson’s arrest, detectives allegedly located a black Smith and Wesson handgun inside Dawson’s SUV, as well as a partially smoked marijuana joint. During a court appearance, a Broward County judge related the event to the court. “Pointing a gun at children and then the children knowing their father is going to shoot them is a form of torture,” the judge said. “We know that torture can be physical and psychological.” It is unclear how Dawson’s arrest will affect his custody of his two daughters.

Child abuse cases affect thousands of U.S. families every year. Child Welfare records show there were 676,569 victims of child abuse and neglect in 2011. What’s more, Child Welfare Services say they received 3.4 million reports of child abuse or neglect nationwide in 2011. Those reports listed an estimated 6.2 million kids believed to be the victims of abuse and/or neglect.

Sources: 2.19.13 Dawson Child Abuse.pdf, 2.21.11 Child Abuse Statistics.pdf.