Published 8:51 am Thursday, December 5, 2013

AHOSKIE – Law enforcement officials here are stopping short of labeling a recent string of assaults as the “Knockout” game, but the local cases do bear a striking similarity to a disturbing national craze.

Three local men each stand charged with aggravated assault following apparent unprovoked attacks on Nov. 26 at two Ahoskie-based laundromats.

According to Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh, 22-year-old William McCoy White Jr. of 560 North McGlohon Street, Ahoskie, was arrested Nov. 29. He was charged with felonious assault inflicting serious injury, as well as misdemeanor simple assault. White was jailed under a $28,000 secured bond.

A follow-up investigation after White’s arrest yielded warrants, both drawn on Nov. 29, for two others.

One day later, 24-year-old Dominique Shawn Parker of 311 North Catherine Street, Ahoskie, was arrested and charged with one count of misdemeanor assault stemming from the Nov. 26 incident. While being arrested, Parker assaulted a police officer, and repeated that crime upon his arrival at the Hertford County Jail in Winton. That resulted in two additional charges of misdemeanor assault and his total bond was set at $80,500 secured.

Also arrested on Nov. 30 was 26-year-old Antwon Marquis Valentine of 121 Horseshoe Trail, Ahoskie. He was charged with one count of misdemeanor assault and his bond was $2,500 secured.

All three have made their initial appearances in Hertford County District Court.

Video of one of the Nov. 26 assaults was viewed by this newspaper. It showed the victim sitting and then was attacked, unprovoked, with a single punch to the back of his head. The victim rose to his feet and exchanged punches with his attacker. Seconds later, another suspect entered the laundromat and the two began to punch and kick the victim.

The initial single punch is similar to the “Knockout” game, which is being reported across the nation. The “game” involves an individual, typically walking in a group, targeting a lone victim and attempting to knock them out with one punch.

To date, two people have died this year from the “Knockout” game.

Michael Daniels, age 51, of Syracuse, NY died in July from a blow to the left side of his face, which caused his head to rotate and hyper-extend to the point that an artery near his brain stem severed. A 16-year-old stands accused in that case.

In September, a homeless man, Ralph Erick Santiago, age 46 of Hoboken, NJ, was found with his neck wedged between iron fence posts along a street in that town. A pair of 13-year-olds and one 14-year-old have admitted to playing Knockout, leaving the victim where he was later found. All three face murder charges.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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