A violent street game being played by teens across the country is making national headlines. It's called the 'knockout game' and in some cases deaths have been reported as a result of the game.
In a video posted to YouTube, teens from Pittsburgh sucker punch a school teacher as he walks by. He falls face first onto the curb, not moving as the group of teenagers laughs and walks away. The goal of knockout is to hit a stranger so hard that it knocks them out with one blow. Targets can be men, women and the elderly.
This past Saturday a man leaving the Hi-Co Mart at E. Sprague Ave. and N. Mullen Rd. was assaulted randomly by three white young men. The unprovoked attack is what lead deputies to compare this incident to the game of knockout.
Watching a blind side attack like that can be hard to stomach but for some it's all part of the knockout game. Spokane Valley Police think this violent game might be making it's way to Eastern Washington.
"Simply walks by, says, 'How's it going fellas?'" said Deputy Craig Chamberlin with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.
It was that harmless salutation that caused three white young men to attack the victim leaving the Hi-Co Mart this last weekend.
"Assaulted to the point where he goes onto the ground, they continue kicking him and assaulting him until a witness inside the store comes out and breaks up the fight," said Chamberlin.
Deputies say the assault is being compared to the knockout game because the attack was so random.
"It's a vicious assault. There's absolutely no provocation for it and no reason for it," said Chamberlin.
But they're not calling it a game.
"Nothing funny about it whatsoever; these victims, worst case scenario, they've been killed from these assaults," said Chamberlin.
And why anyone would think sucker punching a stranger is fun is beyond comprehension for most.
"That sounds crazy. Sounds terrible actually," said Spokane Valley resident Andrew Derrick.
Derrick's guess on why people would play knockout is as good as any.
"Just being stupid really; can't really explain that one," said Derrick.
While deputies haven't seen any other cases like this one, it's a good reminder to stay vigilant.
"I'm always kinda aware of my surrounding and I always kinda watch what's going on around me," said Derrick.
Also, keep distractions like phones and music to a minimum when out on the streets.
"Just hopefully it doesn't happen anymore, you know?" said Derrick.
The suspects in this case are described as being white and between the ages of 17 and 21. Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for anyone who provides information leading to an arrest in this incident. Call 1-800-222-TIPS or go to www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org.