Pedestrians in Milwaukee are being warned to stay alert after a 53-year-old man was seriously injured in a random attack possibly linked to the so-called “knockout game.”
The man was walking in the 4000 block of W. Burleigh St. shortly after 7:30 p.m. Monday when he was approached from behind, struck and knocked to the sidewalk by one of four assailants, Milwaukee police said Wednesday.
The other three attackers then joined in the assault, and the man was punched several more times, police said.
The victim, Tim Bessette, told WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) that his attackers, a group of teens, began harassing him before one of them punched him, breaking his nose and fracturing bones in his face.
The knockout game involves groups of youth who randomly target unsuspecting pedestrians with the intention of knocking them out cold with one punch.
The assaults have gained national media attention after high-profile attacks in several cities, including one in Jersey City, N.J., that left a 46-year-old man dead.
“The so-called ‘point-’em-out-knock-’em-out game’ incidents are not a game, but are in fact crimes that can be categorized as battery and/or robbery,” said Milwaukee Police Department spokesman Lt. Mark Stanmeyer.
“Virtually all robberies and assaults are unprovoked, and the very fact that these events appear random makes them hard to prevent and hard to prepare for,” Stanmeyer said.
Bessette, who is still hospitalized, told Channel 4 he has no doubt this was a case of the knockout game.
“I watched these clips of this knockout game and I sit there in total amazement,” Bessette said.
“How can somebody be so ruthless and disrespectful?”
Inattentive, lone pedestrians are the preferred targets for street crimes, said Stanmeyer, urging people to remain alert and aware of their surroundings at all times.
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