November 25th, 2013
10:52 AM ET

"Knockout" Game Leads to Deaths, Arrests Across Country

A sick so-called game known as "knockout" - where teens appear to randomly sucker-punch strangers with the goal of knocking them unconscious with a single blow - is catching the attention of law enforcement throughout the nation, CNN's Pamela Brown reports.

The assaults can be fatal. In New Jersey, Ralph Santiago, 46, a homeless man, was walking alone in Hoboken on the night of September 10 when he was suddenly struck from behind, said Hoboken Detective Anthony Caruso.

The blow knocked out Santiago, who had a pre-existing brain injury. He suffered a seizure. The victim's body struck a nearby fence, with part of the wrought iron fence piercing his body and killing him, Caruso said.

Surveillance video in the area showed three teens running from the scene. Two weeks later, police arrested the juveniles and charged them in connection with the killing. Caruso said the attack was unprovoked.

Authorities have reported similar incidents in New York, Illinois, Missouri and Washington.

One of the latest attacks happened Friday, when someone was allegedly punched on a street in Brooklyn. Police brought four men in for questioning and arrested 28-year-old Amrit Marajh.

Marajh is charged with aggravated assault as a hate crime, assault as a hate crime and assault in the 3rd degree, police said. He was arraigned Saturday, according to Mia Goldberg, spokeswoman for the Kings County District Attorney's Office.

Youth violence expert Chuck Williams blamed the media and parents for what he called extreme aggression by America's youth. Negative attention, he said, is often rewarded.

"That's America. America loves violence and so do our kids," Williams said. "We market violence to our children and we wonder why they're violent. It's because we are."

Former New York City Police Department detective Harry Houck weighs in on the chilling trend.

"Stopping the incidents is going to be very hard to do. There's no way we can find out if an incident is going to occur tomorrow or the day after because these are random attacks, on the street, with groups of black youths."


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  1. Albert Camus

    Shame on CNN for this pointless sensationalized fear-mongering. This is not a significant trend, but publicizing it in this way will only achieve more fear (along of course with more profiling), and also to some degree copycat behavior that would not otherwise occur. CNN is going down the tubes. Boo hiss!

    November 30, 2013 at 12:29 am | Reply
  2. JoeyFromFullHouse

    28 year old "youth"? Right. When will the media stop with the "youth" blanket excuse and realize that these are just out of control negros that need to be euthanized.

    November 27, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Reply
  3. gstlab3

    all of these so called games are really criminal and hate inspired things and are in direct response to Trayvon Martins killing and Zimmermans aquittal.

    November 26, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  4. GatorDude

    It's best to judge someone by the content of their character when they are at least 50 feet away.

    November 25, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  5. EdL

    The media calling these knockouts a game is sickening. School shootings have not yet been called games but it would not surprise if they will soon be called the same as well.

    November 25, 2013 at 11:28 am | Reply
    • TeamCNNCNN

      Hi, EdL,

      Thank you for your comments The name, "Knockout game," is actually the term used on social media (#knockoutgame).

      Please visit to participate in a discussion on this dangerous trend.

      Thank you,
      CNN VCM

      November 25, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Reply

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