FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. – Police say that a 59-year-old man who was found face down and unresponsive at a fall fair in Maryland may have been an innocent victim of a pair of teens’ twisted game.
It’s called the ‘knockout game’, and it’s been an issue for years. Aggressors randomly target their victims and attack them with devastating blows, often from behind.
Witnesses at the Great Frederick Fair on Friday say that the victim had been minding his own business when two teens, ages 15 and 16, allegedly launched their assault.
ABC 7 reported that the man was found unconscious just after 5:30 p.m. Friday in the fairgrounds. Maryland State Police responded and the man was airlifted to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Authorities say that the man was pronounced dead from his injuries on Saturday.
The medical examiner’s office is scheduled to perform an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Now police have arrested two teenagers and charged them with serious crimes after it was determined that they had allegedly been involved in the unprovoked attack. ABC 7’s report claimed that social media was used to help identify the suspects as Snapchat videos of the attack allegedly showed it in vivid detail.
BREAKING: @FredCoSheriff has charged a 15yo + 16yo boy for the random, unprovoked attack of a 59yo man at the Great Frederick Fair.
That man died today at Shock Trauma in Baltimore.
Sources say the teens (currently in juvenile custody) may have been playing the “knockout game.” pic.twitter.com/58tI0FPeT5
— Kevin Lewis (@ABC7Kevin) September 22, 2019
Photos from the scene showed more than 20 uniformed members of law enforcement at the fairgrounds with the teens being led away in handcuffs.
The 15-year-old suspect was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. The 16-year-old is charged with second-degree assault, but investigators say that more charges may be added to the list after the results of the medical examiner’s report are provided. Police say those charges could include manslaughter or potentially even murder.
“Both juveniles have been placed in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Services pending a hearing with a Circuit Court Judge,” a press release from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office read. “No weapons were used or mentioned in this incident.”
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Early reports had suggested that there had been a potential shooting or stabbing within the fairgrounds, but those rumors were quickly negated on social media.
“The Great Frederick Fair’s number one priority is the safety and security of our guests,” a Facebook post from the fair’s page read. “To dispel rumors of the events of last night, while there was an assault, there was NO shooting and NO stabbing. The team of security and law enforcement was able to respond rapidly to control and contain the incident. The investigation into this incident remains active and any further information regarding the assault will be released from the Sheriff’s Office.”
Anyone with information related to the fatal attack is being urged to contact Frederick County Detective Jen Skelley at 301-600-1046. Additional calls can be made to the tip line at 301-600-4131.
Police have not yet identified the victim, though ABC 7 reportedly visited the apartment complex where the teenage boys live. They overheard people discussing the case, saying that the charges were unfounded and that the main aggressor had simply been defending his brother.
“He was only trying to protect his brother,” a man reportedly stated. “This is ridiculous.”
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A full copy of the news release from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office can be read here.
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