DOUGLAS, N.D. — Gordon Van Hassel, 68, Douglas, is accused of cursing at and throwing rocks at a group of children who hit him with a snowball on Friday, Oct. 11, and then attacking a 9-year-old boy, first pushing him into a truck and then smashing his face into the ground.

Van Hassel is charged in district court in Minot with Class B felony aggravated assault of a victim under the age of 12.

According to a court filing, Van Hassel walked his dog by a group of children having a snowball fight and retaliated when he was hit by a snowball.

Van Hassel claimed the kids were harassing him so he chased them, caught the 9-year-old boy and pushed him to the ground.

The boy passed out during the attack and told authorities he was afraid for his life, according to the affidavit. Another adult put him on a sled and pulled him toward his home. The boy's grandfather, who was babysitting him, took him to the Trinity Hospital emergency room in Minot. The boy couldn't walk on his left leg and was in pain when he was interviewed by a Ward County sheriff's deputy.

Van Hassel is being held at the Ward County Jail.

Douglas is a small town about 40 miles southwest of Minot.