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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