Hampton man charged after hitting another man with tire iron during argument

Posted at 11:58 AM, Sep 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-13 14:58:26-04

Recovering from a frightening attack isn't how Jeff Downey had hoped to spend his 27th wedding anniversary, but that's what he's doing after he says 46-year-old James Lee Williams beat him with a metal tire tool.

"Petrified, when he had that breaker bar I'm just thinking I'm going to take a blow to the head," Downey said.

Instead, he took a blow to his right arm and suffered a broken wrist.

He says it happened after he took action to confront a group of kids who he thought were vandalizing cars and causing mischief in the Crowne Plaza parking garage in downtown Hampton.

Downey says it was difficult to see exactly what they were doing but he believes the kids were throwing objects from the 6th floor of the parking garage at boats passing by below. He says he also saw one of the kids kick a minivan.

When he confronted them, he says things got ugly.

"There's three of us let's get him, the police will believe us,” Downey recalled them saying.

But, at some point, he believes one of the kids called Williams because minutes later a car pulled up and the 46-year-old got out.

"He immediately bull rushed me, pushed and shoved, then threw one punch,” Downey explained.

That's before he says Williams pulled a 2-foot breaker bar out his trunk and started swinging.

"He's trying to egg the kids on to help him all gang attack me," Downey said.

Downey says he used a large water jug to keep Williams at bay until police arrived.

Officials say they found no evidence of vandalism in the parking garage and they won’t go into much more detail other than saying an argument led to the attack.

Williams is behind bars charged him with maiming.

Downey, on-the-other-hand, is now resting at home with his wife after a long night in the hospital and still processing everything that happened.

"Definitely shocked, immediately a parent just thinks that their kids are good ‘my kid didn't do that.’ Definitely defending him is what he was doing," Downey said.

Williams has been charged with one count of maiming and remains in custody in the Hampton City Jail.