A man who died at a Maryland fair after an unprovoked assault may have been the victim of a dangerous fad called the “knockout game,” according to a report.
Two brothers, 15 and 16, were arrested in connection with the attack Friday at the Great Frederick Fair in Frederick, authorities said. They were being held on assault charges.
Frederick County State's Attorney Charlie Smith told The Frederick News-Post the assault may have been the result of the “knockout game,” in which participants record video of themselves sucker-punching a victim that they post on social media.
He told the paper he heard about videos of the assault circulating online.
Deputies found the victim lying unconscious on the ground, according to a news release Saturday from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.
“Criminal investigators responded to the scene and interviewed numerous witnesses who indicated that the person assaulted was the victim of an unprovoked attack,” the news release said. “As a result of the investigation, two juvenile suspects were able to be identified and were later located and arrested by the Sheriff’s Office.
Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins identified the victim as John Weed, 59, Fox 5 DC reported Monday. He died of his injuries Saturday.
Jenkins told the station the charges against the brothers could be upgraded to manslaughter or murder.
He also hopes the pair are charged with hate crimes. The victim was white, authorities said. The suspects are black.
“This was such a brutal, unprovoked attack – not only the attack itself but the fact that after the man was down, they spit on him repeatedly. I’m so disgusted – I’m angry, I’m upset for the family,” he said, according to the station.
The station quoted the father of the two boys as saying that witnesses and his sons told him the incident started as an argument between the teens and the man after one of their friends asked the man for money.
He said the man spit on one of his sons before one of them threw a punch that led to the man's death, the station reported.