BY MATT TROUTMAN firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — A Whiting Hotel resident is accused of choking one of his neighbors to unconsciousness after a late-night confrontation over a prank, police said.
Tyler Mark Berg, 27, was arraigned this week in 86th District Court on felony charges of strangulation and first-degree home invasion from the July 1 attack. Mike Anton, a partner with the company that owns the Front Street building, said Berg was also “one of the players” in a June 21 assault outside the hotel that involved a baseball bat.
“(July 1) was his very last night,” Anton said. “We were the process of kicking him out.”
Traverse City Police Capt. Brian Heffner said Berg and another suspect lowered a dollar bill on a fishing line down to Front Street from a Whiting Hotel window early July 1. He said the male victim, who had been drinking all day to celebrate his 30th birthday, came across the prank on his way back to the hotel.
“The victim recalls a verbal confrontation,” he said.
Heffner said the victim went up to his room, fell asleep and awoke to find someone set off a fire extinguisher, filling the victim’s room with powder. The police report states the victim had another confrontation with the two suspects before going back to sleep.
The victim “stated he was only asleep for a short period of time when the door to his room was forced open,” according to the report. He lost consciousness after he was “grabbed and forced down onto the ground with extreme pressure being applied to his neck” by two suspects.
“He woke up face down on the floor in a pool of blood,” Heffner said.
Heffner said the victim received treatment at Munson Medical Center and reported vision problems because of burst blood vessels in his eyes. The victim did not want to pursue prosecution but told police he would cooperate if the suspects were identified.
Berg faces misdemeanor charges of false fire alarm and malicious destruction of building in addition to his felony charges. Grant Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney said his office hasn’t received a request to file charges against a second suspect named in the police report.
Anton said about 60 residents live in the hotel. He said management has worked to change the hotel’s image through renovations and new policies like background checks for residents.
“It’s a work in progress at all times, both from our standpoint upgrading the facility and constantly weeding out the bad apples,” he said.