Toddler hospitalized after alleged assault by other kids at Aschroft soccer tournament

Ashcroft RCMP is investigating an alleged assault at a weekend youth soccer tournament that left a four year old in hospital. FILE - Alistair Berg / Getty

A four-year-old child was taken to hospital Saturday, after allegedly being assaulted by a group of children between the ages of four and 12 years old.

Ashcroft RCMP Sgt. Kathleen Fitzgerald said the incident happened during a soccer tournament at the Ashcroft HUB park on Saturday, though was not reported to police until Sunday.

She said a witness told police they saw four children “pushing and shoving” the victim, and that when they intervened the kids scattered.

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The victim, who is not from the Ashcroft area, was taken to hospital by their parents with non-life threatening injuries. Fitzgerald said she could not disclose more about the child’s injuries for privacy reasons.

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She said police were still investigating a motive in the incident.

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I think to say ‘attack,’ it’s too early to use that vernacular. At this point right now we know is that youth were in a playground and that an altercation occurred,” she said.

“What the intent of that altercation is — we’re jumping the gun to say it’s bullying, to say that it’s an attack — this could be, at the end of the day, a simple [case of] playing that got too rough. We don’t know yet until we talk to all the witnesses.”
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Fitzgerald said that because the tournament involved participants from around the region, it is likely that the suspect children and other possible witnesses were not Ashcroft residents, and that police are looking to speak with anyone who may have additional information.

Lee Hand, president of the South Cariboo Minor Soccer Association which was hosting the tournament, issued a statement saying an unfortunate incident had happened between 3 and 4 p.m. during the association’s year-end tournament.

“The RCMP are investigating the matter at this time and if anyone has any information, no matter how small it may seem, please let the Ashcroft RCMP know,” she said.

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