A Massachusetts college sophomore is under arrest for a string of vicious, totally random, “knockout game”-style attacks against three fellow students.
Dillon Destefano walked up to three people he didn’t know and sucker-punched them in the face, reports CBS Boston.
Police say the incidents occurred in the wee hours of Sunday, Feb. 2 at or near Endicott College, a small private school in a small New England town about 25 miles north of Boston. The victims were walking home.
Destefano, 19, is a resident of New Jersey. As a freshman, he was on the roster of the men’s hockey team.
Two of Destefano’s alleged victims suffered major injuries. One student, a freshman baseball player, was hospitalized with a broken jaw and needed surgery. His face now contains a titanium plate. His jaw is wired shut. He can only drink through a straw and has lost about 10 pounds.
Another victim has also undergone surgery for a fractured eye socket.
A third victim suffered only minor injuries as the result of an attack.
Destefano himself was hurt in the attacks, notes the Boston Herald. He punched his victims so hard that his right hand bloated up.
“It was three assaults within an hour and he didn’t even know most of — if any of — the students,” Endicott College president Richard Wylie told CBS Boston.
“It’s symbolic of what’s happening here in our society when people just feel they can violate somebody’s rights,” Wylie also said, according to CBS News.
Other Endicott students offered tips that led to Destefano’s arrest. Police say they were also aided by the fact that the pugilistic pupil bragged about his exploits.
Destefano apparently had a couple accomplices. He presented himself to campus security after the two unidentified accomplices had turned themselves in.
The sophomore has pleaded not guilty to the aggravated assault and battery charges against him.
On Tuesday, a local judge ordered the stunned sophomore to jail pending a hearing that was on Thursday to determine if he is a danger to the community.
Assistant district attorney Patrick Collins discussed the “knockout game” in court proceedings.
“The knockout game that has been widely reported in the press, where one walks up to a person who is unsuspecting and punches them in the face, trying to knock them out with one punch,” Collins said, according to the Herald.
Destefano, who has been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, had a previous brush with fame about a decade ago when he met hockey great Wayne Gretzky for a portion of a televised Make-a-Wish Foundation special on ESPN, reports the Cliffview Pilot.
Destefano was nine-years-old at the time. He got to skate around with The Great One at Gretzky’s childhood home in Ontario.
At the time, Destefano’s parents spoke of their son as a fighter who had been fighting Crohn’s disease since he was an infant.