LEWISTOWN - The Pennsylvania State Police has issued a bulletin on a disturbing new "game" that is sweeping the nation, which has reportedly caused deaths in Missouri, New York, and New Jersey.
Police said perpetrators have dubbed the brutal practice as the "knockout game" in which young people prey upon unsuspecting adults and try to randomly knock out strangers with one punch called the "one hitter quitter."
According to the bulletin, if the victim is not knocked out after the initial hit, the participants continue to assault them until they are unconscious or they escape. Police said the trend has gained popularity through social media the accomplices going online boasting about their recent assaults. The bulletin continued to state that in many instances, the attacks have been caught on camera and are later posted online.
According to the bulletin, cities such as New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Chicago, Hoboken, and Washington have had knockout attacks which have led to several injuries and deaths.
Police said two attacks have occurred in Pennsylvania:
On Nov. 11, a Cumberland County, man was a victim of what was believed to be the "knockout game." The man was asked by a youth if had a cigarette and when he reached into his pocket, he was punched several times by three or four individuals. On Nov. 12 police arrested a 15-year-old in connection with the assault
On Nov. 21, a police department in Montgomery County, arrested two suspects in connection with a "knockout game" style attack on a man who was walking his dog. The 63-year-old victim observed a man run by him and a second man walking toward him. He was then punched in the mouth, knocking him to the ground. Police are attempting to determine if the latest incident is related to a similar attack that occurred in September.
Police have offered recommendations to stay safe:
Be vigilant and ware of your surroundings.
While walking on streets, sidewalks or other public places, avoid wearing earphones or ear buds, talking on your phone, or playing with your phone, all of which divert your attention from your surroundings.
Avoid large groups of teens or young adults and if encountered, attempt to walk away or move to the other side of the street. If you believe you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
Immediately report all criminal activity and suspicious behavior to your local police department for investigation.