New Head-Punching Game, ‘Knockout King,’ Spreading From St. Louis

There is a new and dangerous criminal behavior that is enforced like a game occurring
throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. It is called “Knockout King.” Thus far, each victim, including Doyle McClellan, 40, John Stuhlman, 36, 80-year-old Rafael Quiroz and 27-year-old musician Johnny Saint along with at least six others, has described the actions of their assailants in a similar manner. None were robbed, just sucker-punched in the back of the head without provocation or warning and dropped to the ground. This according to an in-depth exposé by John H. Tucker of the St. Louis River Front Times.

In addition, none of the assaulted were even knowledgeable of the so-called “Knockout King
phenomenon” prior to being attacked. McClellan found out about the “game” after he told others of what happened to him. In fact, the very same day he was assaulted, he was informed by a young man who told him the attack had been “part of the knockout game.”

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce has charged five defendants with misdemeanor assaults who have admitted participating in Knockout King. St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is also informed of this activity. “The ‘knockout game’ is played by a group of kids who, as outrageous as it sounds, go around with the goal of knocking people out for apparently no reason,” says Chief Daniel Isom.

Although authorities do not have any accurate figures of its practice, they estimate about 10 to 15 percent of local teens play Knockout King. Teens say “everyone plays the game” and describe it as “a game for groups of teens to see who can hit a person the hardest.”

According to reports, the rules are simple. First, a lead attacker and target are selected by a group of teens. Next, the attacker either charges the unsuspecting victim or motions for his attention. When the target turns, he is struck, and the group then runs away from the scene.

This is a terrible trend. It seems that it was generated out of boredom and the stereotypical belief that fighting represents strength and toughness. Between September 2003 and May 2011, there have been 1,315 reports in St. Louis of a single victim being assaulted by one or more males aged 16 or younger. –torrance t. stephens, ph.d.

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