A random assault on a man on the streets of downtown San Diego last month does not appear to be connected to “knockout,” a disturbing activity trending across the country, police confirmed Wednesday.
“Knockout,” a so-called “game,” involves teenagers or young adults physically assaulting unsuspecting strangers on the street. Instances of the dangerous, harmful game have been reported across the country, with many of the assaults caught on camera in place like New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Last month, an assault case resembling the circumstances surrounding “knockout” was reported in San Diego. Initially, authorities thought it could be tied to the game gaining momentum around the U.S.
San Diegan Victoria Hyatt said the assault involved her husband, who was punched in the face by a complete stranger.
Hyatt said her husband was waiting to cross the intersection at 2nd Avenue and Ash Street when a man walked up beside him and then, out of nowhere, punched her husband in the face.
The alleged assailant then walked away, as if “nothing had happened,” according to Hyatt.
NBC 7 San Diego reached out to the San Diego Police Department again Wednesday regarding this case. Officials said it now appears this attack is not connected to the “knockout” game.
SDPD Officer Jim Johnson said that as of right now, there are no documented cases of any such game in San Diego.
“For this city, I have not seen it,” said Johnson.
The officer said these types of cases would be difficult to even track.
"Just somebody randomly going up and punching somebody, and attributing it to the game, it would be very difficult to track without any kind of pattern established,” he explained.
It does not make what happened at that crosswalk on 2nd and Ash – or other cases of random assault documented around the country – any less brutal, but Johnson said the media does need to be careful in grouping these crimes together unless there is solid evidence they’re part of a larger trend.
“If you start reporting something enough, people start to see it more and then maybe it gets into the wrong ears, and somebody not thinking with a clear mind might think this is a good idea, and we certainly don't want to see that happen, and that's certainly the danger of over-reporting something," said Johnson.
As for the incident in San Diego, police said the assault suspect was arrested, then cited for a misdemeanor and released. It will be up to the city attorney's office whether to actually charge that suspect.