Arlington community concerned after 'knockout' victims come forward

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Residents in Arlington are concerned after two men came forward claiming they were victims of the so-called "knockout game."

The game is believed to be a disturbing trend nationwide in which the object is to knock out someone with a single punch.

The incidents happened within 40 minutes of each other Tuesday night along Merrill Road -- one at a Walgreens store and one at a Hess gas station.

Diane Cohan says now she'll watch her back when she pumps gas.

"This was the place to live 40 years ago, right here in Arlington," she said.

Now she said it's gone downhill and she's sick of the violence.

"This whole area, I'd like to take my neighborhood and put a wall around it so we don't have that problem," Cohan said.

Michael Carraway was one of the victims who said four teens with a white puppy ran away laughing after hitting him.

"One hit. I think he was just doing his best to knock me out," he said.

About 45 minutes before, Thomas Florence described the same group of boys hit him while he looked for a movie at a Redbox outside Walgreens.

"I was kind of stunned for a second," Florence said. "I didn't realize what was going on and then I ran after them."

They got away. For now, anyways.

"It's like these things you see on TV when somebody's throwing a dog out of a car and their legs are broken," Cohan said. "We need to catch that guy and throw him out of a car and let him see how it feels. I'm just at that point where it's like, an eye for an eye."

"There's been a large increase in concealed weapons and gun ownership in recent months, so I think these kids need to think about that because they might hit the wrong person and not get the results they want," said resident Jason Broughton.

Or they could wind up in prison for the rest of their lives.

"Somebody's going to make a mistake one time and they're going to kill someone by doing something like this," Carraway said.

"It's not humorous, it's not entertaining, it's probably a very stupid thing for them to be doing," Broughton said.

"I am constantly watching my back now, paying attention to what's going on around me and keeping my mind on what is around me, because you have to," Cohan said.

"We are investigating two reported incidents of simple battery, and are talking to victims," Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Asst. Chief John Lamb said in a statement. "At this time we cannot say if these incidents are part of the trend that the media is reporting, nationally. At this time, we believe these are two isolated incidents. We are investigating and hope to have suspects identified. The best assistance we can get is if citizens feel they have been a victim of a crime to report it to police."

Anyone who has any information about the identity of the teens is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.

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