A New York City man who said he was randomly attacked by three teenagers says he thinks he was a victim of the ‘Knockout game’ even though police are calling the attack an attempted robbery.
Sal Avila required surgery for a broken nose he sustained during the vicious attack, which occurred near the campus of New York University last Sunday, Channel 4-New York reports.
Avila told the news station he was leaving a friend’s house and looking at his cell phone as three teenagers passed by.
Then he was punched.
“Just as they were about to walk past me, one of them moves very suddenly and I feel a very hard impact to my face, as if I got hit by a brick or something,” Avila told Channel 4-New York.
Bystanders helped identify the suspects, helping police capture a 16 year-old attacker.
Police said it was a case of attempted robbery, but Avila disagrees and says that he was the victim of the ‘Knockout game’.
In the so-called ‘game’, attackers try to knock their victims out with one blow.
Avila told Channel 4-New York that he thinks the attackers goal was “simply to do damage, and instill fear.”
“My watch wasn’t taken. My phone, which was in my hand, wasn’t taken,” he told the new station. “There was no attempt for my pockets that I could see.”
Debate has raged over whether ‘knockout game’ is widespread enough to constitute a national trend. (RELATED: Louisiana police arrest two in possible ‘knockout game’ death)
Last year, numerous cases resembling the game popped up across the country, with many of them taking place in New York City. Many of the victims there were from the Orthodox Jewish community.
The ‘Knockout game’ has been responsible for several deaths. In one case earlier this year, a Baton Rogue, La. man died after being attacked by two teenagers. And last year, a 46 year-old homeless New Jersey man died after being attacked by three teenagers.