Four Brunswick teens were arrested Thursday in connection with an unprovoked attack on a 16-year-old early Sunday morning inside a Walmart store. Investigators said the attack was similar to a national trend that has become known as the "knockout game."
Glynn County police said the entire attack was captured on the Altama Avenue store's surveillance video.
They said the victim, who's the son of the Glynn County fire chief, was seen being punched by 18-year-old Brandon Allen Jr. Police said the victim had swelling and bruising to the face where the punch landed.
Three others, Jervon Sanderson, 18, Kaleb Dirting, 18, and Ramone Roberson, 19, were also arrested in connection with the assault.
After the attack, all four suspects fled on foot from the store, police said. They are all charged with first-degree cruelty to children.
Police said additional charges are expected.
The knockout game is where offenders randomly sucker punch strangers, with the goal of knocking them unconscious with a single blow.
Police said they're keeping a watchful eye for any similar assaults that may occur.
"Younger adults, sometimes teens will go out as some type of game in their minds and what I call ambush sucker punch an individual for their entertainment," Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said. "I think this is a good case to show everyone this is not a game, not entertaining, no, not OK. And regardless of your age, it should be a felony."
Doering said the teens have been in trouble with police before but wouldn't say if they'd been arrested before.
Roberson's uncle, Dontae Whatley, said he could never imagine his nephew would ever want to hurt anyone. He said Roberson and the other suspects go to church every week, have jobs and typically stay out of trouble. He said the Walmart where this happened is known to be a hangout spot for teens, but he would never expect his nephew to be involved in something like this.
"This particular night, something happened, and it's bad, but I really don't know what to say. I'm just praying for them to get this over with, let all of them go," Whatley said. "Those are good kids. They go to church every Sunday, every weekday, and I don't see none of them being bad kids. But they just got caught up in something. It just happened."
The teens will make their first appearance in court Friday afternoon.
Any information regarding this case can be passed on to the violent crimes task force at 912-554-7802, or Silent Witness at 912-264-1333.