Police: Granddad Shoves Girl Close To Elk Herd

Witnesses Say Man Trying To Take Picture Of Girl With Elk

A 63-year-old California man faces child abuse and assault charges for allegedly shoving his 6-year-old granddaughter dangerously close to a herd of calving elk and then attacking bystanders who protested his actions.

Estes Park Police Commander Wes Kufeld said Harold Wellsted also faces a charge of second-degree assault for allegedly attacking an officer in the booking room of the jail.

A group of spectators near the Estes Park Visitor's Bureau information center was watching an elk herd Friday morning from behind a fence when a van with a woman, an older man and two young children got out. Despite a sign warning visitors against getting too close to the elk, the family stepped over the fence and approached the elk, which had been gathered on the nearby golf course.

Kufeld said the grandfather then pushed the girl toward the elk to take a picture. She began to cry when one elk reared up.

Kufeld said a 58-year-old woman yelled at Wellsted, which allegedly prompted him to hit her. The suspect also knocked down the woman's 82-year-old father, who had been using a walker.

The family then drove away but witnesses began taking snapshots of the van. Using those photographs, police were able to trace the family to Greeley, where police arrested Wellsted, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

Wellsted was also wanted on a child abuse warrant out of California, authorities said.

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