A Billings chiropractor was pummeled early Saturday morning when he tried to detain several teens he thought were trying to break into a trailer and shed on his property.
The incident happened around 2 a.m., said Dr. Jeff Meier, who lives with his wife, Kim, and children on Brentwood Lane in West Billings. The street is between Poly Drive and Colton Boulevard, not far from 21st Street West.
Meier was watching TV in his garage when he heard a noise outside.
"I looked out the garage window and a group of kids were out there monkeying around," he said on Saturday afternoon. "They knocked over our basketball hoop in the driveway."
He saw them near the doors to his trailer and shed and he opened a door and yelled at them. He guessed there were seven or eight youth, at least one girl, and they took off running.
Meier chased them to the next block to the east, Wingate Lane. He managed to catch one of the males, and two or three others returned.
They attacked Meier on the lawn of a house on Wingate, hitting and kicking his face and head, and one of the perpetrators choked Meier to the point that he lost consciousness.
"He must of felt me go limp because I came to and saw them running away," Meier said.
He got up and called 911, then walked back to his house. He gave a report to a Billings police officer, but declined medical attention.
Meier was left with a broken nose, a black eye, a lot of cuts and scrapes and a damaged front tooth.
Kim Meier put the incident on Facebook with a dramatic photo of her husband, matted blood covering his face. She hoped to elicit the identity of the youth and to alert others to the vandalism.
Within two hours, the post had been shared 350 times, she said, and by 5 p.m. Saturday, it had been shared 2,000 times. She also learned, through replies to her note, that at least a couple of neighbors also had items in their yards disturbed late Friday or early Saturday.
Meier was somewhat reluctant to talk about the incident, admitting that it probably wasn't wise to chase the youth when they ran off. But he hoped speaking out might help someone else.
"It's a pretty nice neighborhood," he said. "I don't want them coming back. Maybe this is going to help people know about it and deter it."
The attack is being investigated, said Sgt. Neil Lawrence of the Billings Police Department.