CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Authorities across America are seeing a spike in a brutal new trend called "the knockout game."
The goal involves participants hitting an unsuspecting victim unconscious with one punch. At least two deaths are attributed to the game this year.
"It's disturbing to say the very least, very disturbing. It's sickening, I don't see where the thrill would be," says Tim King.
"I think it's just a childish game, and people should take the opportunity to protect themselves," explains Ben Fry.
On Friday night, a 42 year old man walked out of this bar on Langland Street. The police report states the suspects punched the victim in the face and fled. Tim King knows the victim and says the whole thing is shocking.
"I think it's poor parenting. I have an 11-year-old at home. I want to know where he's at and keep an eye on him," adds King.
But why? Law enforcement hate crime units are taking a closer look. The attackers, mainly teenage boys target victims that appear vulnerable. The trend also show most victims are Caucasian, prompting some to call the act "polar bear hunting".
"Maybe profiling different kinds of people or something like that," explains King.
The Northside victim told FOX19 that he thinks the teens were taking video or pictures of Friday's assault, another common trend. Ben Fry says this game is extremely risky for the attackers, especially not knowing if the victim may be armed with a concealed carry permit.
"It could definitely turn bad. They have the right to defend themselves and they're inflicting bodily harm so it could definitely not end well," says Fry.
Lawmakers in New York are already looking into a bill that would label this as gang assault - a crime that could result in felonies or jail time.
"I wonder if it will slow down with winter coming and not as many people will be outside or if it'll be a better opportunity for people to do it and cover their face up," say Fry.
Authorities say the best way to avoid this situation is be aware of your surroundings and especially don't be consumed in all of your technology like a cell phone or IPod. Finally, pay close attention when walking near groups of teenage boys.
Police are continuing to investigate the incident in Northside, if you have any information call police.