A 16-year-old from Zwingle is in a juvenile detention facility after clubbing a teen girl in the head with a skateboard.
The Sept. 18 incident is at least the second time Jeffrey Bills, a student at Maquoketa High School, has faced an assault charge in the last 15 months.
A 10-second video of the assault was widely shared around Maquoketa Community High School last week and was obtained by the Sentinel-Press.
The incident occurred shortly after 3 p.m. in the former hospital parking lot at 700 W. Grove St., Maquoketa.
Maquoketa Police Chief Brendan Zeimet said he did not know exactly how many youths had gathered there that day because some had left the scene before officers arrived. Eight people are visible in the video.
According to the ongoing police investigation, two groups of youths met at the lot “intent to engage in a fight,” Zeimet said.
“Some or all of them had in their possession items that could be used to assault or injure other parties. We’re still piecing it together.”
The chief said he could not speculate what events happened before the video started recording.
The 10-second video showed a teen girl standing with a golf club in her left hand, dangling at her side.
When a voice in the crowd said “Now,” Bills took a step toward the girl from behind and swung a skateboard at her, connecting with the right side of her head. The girl crumpled to the concrete, the video showed.
“Just like that, (expletive). You do it you get hit just like that,” Bills, who still held the skateboard, can be heard saying in the video after the girl fell.
The video showed the injured teen immediately sitting up, holding her head in her hands.
Another voice, this one coming from near the videographer, could be heard telling someone to call 911.
At 3:13 p.m., Jackson County Dispatch received a 911 call about a female injured and bleeding from the head in the old hospital parking lot.
Officers arrived within minutes, call logs show, but some of the individuals had already fled the scene by then, Zeimet said. That included Bills, who was taken into custody during a traffic stop just after 7:30 p.m. that night, the call log shows.
The injured girl was helped inside a personal vehicle and taken to the Jackson County Regional Health Center emergency room, according to the call log. Air care was called in. Zeimet did not know the injured teen’s condition last Friday.
Bills was charged with assault causing serious injury. He was sent to the Central Iowa Juvenile Detention Center in Eldora, according to court records, which said he was at risk for causing more bodily harm or property damage to others if released.
No others were hurt in the Sept. 18 incident and no one else was charged in conjunction with it, Zeimet said.
“I consider this a serious incident,” Zeimet said, calling the incident “very disturbing.” He said this incident was not a public-safety matter because it was not “a random act of violence,” but rather a premeditated incident between two groups of youths.
Bills has had other interactions with law enforcement. He and another teen were charged with assault in April 2021 after beating 70-year-old Adrian “Terry” Koontz as he was driving home from work.
In that incident, Koontz told police he had exited his truck to ensure he hadn’t hit some kids who were riding skateboards and walking in the street. A juvenile confronted him and started punching him in the face.
In a video of that incident, Koontz could be seen dropping to the ground, followed by a second teen running up and intentionally kicking him in the chest, leaving a shoe-shaped bruise on his chest.
Bills’ record also includes multiple accounts of trespassing, underage tobacco products use, and various traffic violations, court records show.
He was charged with trespassing after spraying the high school door handles with an irritant such as mace or pepper spray; a child was injured as a result, according to court records.
Bills also was charged with disorderly conduct – fighting/violent behavior for fighting a female in a bank parking lot on Sept. 1, and with fourth-degree theft after removing a security camera from an elementary school Sept. 5.