A man was assaulted in Riverside on Saturday night in front of his girlfriend, near their home, and they told police they believe he was a victim of the “knockout game," WJXT reports.
The “knockout game” first came about a year ago, when strangers approached people randomly and punched them unconscious.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office report, the young couple was walking down College Street shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday. The victim and his girlfriend were approached, and the man was punched on the right side of his face.
Several neighbors in the area told News4Jax on Monday that they are worried and that the attack hit too close to home.
“I was actually scared that it was so close to home, literally, it’s right here on my block,” said Allyson Deihl. “I’ve heard it on the news nationally and it’s scary to think that it’s happening in Jacksonville, in Riverside.”
According to the police report, the man and woman spotted three men walking in their direction, then realized they were being followed. The report said that the woman grabbed her can of Mace from her purse, and then her boyfriend was punched, causing him to stumble to the ground.
The woman told police that she tried to spray the men with her Mace but that it didn’t work and that the men jumped in a car, which was being driven by a woman, and drove away.
A few months ago, Michael Carraway was attacked in a similar way. Carraway was at a gas pump on Merrill Road when he was blindsided and punched by a stranger.
“What goes through my mind is one of these days, their luck is going to run out. I think in the past and elsewhere, someone has been killed off of this," Carraway said. "Someone else is going to die, surely by them doing this.”
In the meantime, neighbors in Riverside are hoping that the people responsible for Saturday’s attack are caught.
"The people who are doing the knockout game, they need to be aware that if they do it to the wrong person at the wrong time, there may be more than a sucker punch that's coming their way,” said Deihl.
Police do not have a good description of the perpetrators or the vehicle used in this case, except that it is light colored.
The man's injury to his face was not serious. The couple did not respond for comment.