Hoboken assault victim tells police he was victim of ‘knockout game’
A Manhattan man who was assaulted on Sinatra Drive early Sunday morning told police that he believed he was the victim of the “knockout game,” according to a police report. The game, in which groups of youths suddenly assault a random victim with the goal of rendering him unconscious with a single blow, made local headlines late last year when a homeless Hoboken man was killed on Third Street by a group of Jersey City minors whom prosecutors said were playing the game.
On Sunday, the Manhattan man was drinking with friends at a bar on Sinatra Drive when he began walking to the PATH train around 2 a.m., police said. As he was walking, he was struck once on the left side of his face by a man he could only describe as African-American and 5 feet 10 inches tall, said the police report. Another man was with the alleged perpetrator. The victim fell to the ground, and apparently asked his attacker why he had assaulted him, to which the assailant reportedly said, “What are you going to do about it?”
The attacker and his associate then fled north on River Street. The victim said that he had not exchanged any words with the men before the attack took place and that he was not involved in any verbal or physical altercations at the bar, according to the police.
The victim, who arrived at police headquarters with his left eye swollen shut, was transported to Hoboken University Medical Center. The physician on call told police that he believed the man suffered several facial fractures that would require surgery.
Assaults and murders around the country have been linked to the knockout game since 1992, when police said that a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student fell victim to a deadly assault by three Cambridge, Mass. youngsters.
In Hoboken, 46-year-old Ralph Eric Santiago, a homeless man, was killed on Sept. 10. Three Jersey City teenagers, ages 13 and 14, are in custody after turning themselves in a week after the attack on Santiago. They apparently did not know Santiago and took the light rail train back to Jersey City after the attack.
Santiago’s body was found against a fence during evening rush hour on Sept. 10 at Third and Jefferson streets. Law enforcement authorities had obtained various videos that led them to the suspects. One video, they said, showed two people following Santiago, and one jumping out in front of him to knock him out.
It is unclear whether any surveillance cameras in the area may have recorded the attack on Sunday.
Suspicious man comes begging at Wallace School
The vice principal of Wallace Elementary School notified police just after noon last Friday when a man allegedly followed a member of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) into the lobby and asked a security guard for money, according to a police report.
The police officer usually stationed at the school’s front desk was at headquarters filing a report on an earlier incident when the man entered the building, and by the time police responded, he had fled, said the report.
When police arrived, the security guard explained that the man, described as medium height, African-American, wearing a trench coat and carrying a briefcase, had told her that he lived across the street and was locked out of his apartment and needed money, said the report.
He asked specifically for $4.50, said the security guard. The guard and the PTO member were both suspicious because the PTO member had just come from a nearby ATM machine where she had withdrawn money from the PTO account. The PTO member was unsure if the man had followed her.
When the vice principal told the man she had called the police, he fled, said the report. A subsequent police search was met with negative results.
Wallet stolen on Jackson Street
A Bloomfield Street man had his wallet stolen and was attacked by three men near the Hoboken Housing Authority early Sunday morning, a police report said. The alleged attack occurred around 12:30 a.m. outside 301 Jackson St. and resulted in the loss of the wallet, though the victim sustained no significant injuries.
According to the victim, who went to police headquarters to report the crime, three men allegedly approached him as he was walking north on Jackson Street. Two of them bumped into him, while the third apparently slipped his wallet from his back pocket, the report said.
Soon, a physical altercation ensued in which the robbers punched and kicked their victim several times, though the report noted that the victim had landed several counterattacks. The attackers then fled through a courtyard toward Harrison Street, the report said.
The victim, not severely hurt, then began to search for the men when he realized two blocks later that his wallet had been taken. According to the report, he located one of the men, who allegedly mocked him by grabbing his crotch and saying, “I got your wallet right here, come and get it.” Frightened by the man’s demeanor, the victim then walked to police headquarters and reported the crime.
Two of the assailants were described as African-American aged 19 to 22, and about 5 feet 4 inches in height, while the third was described as a light-skinned Hispanic about the same height, with blonde hair and dreadlocks.