A random assault that left a black man in his 50s beaten and bruised at 3 p.m. Saturday has led Spokane County sheriff’s deputies to speculate that the attack might be a local version of the violent “knockout game.”
Three white men, about 17 to 21 years old, attacked the man outside a Hico convenience store at 9219 E. Sprague Ave. in Spokane Valley.
The racially tinged “knockout game” refers to attacks on unsuspecting strangers with the goal of seeing if they can knock someone unconscious with a sucker-punch. The attacks often are filmed and posted on social media.
Deputy Craig Chamberlin said the only thing leading investigators to believe Saturday’s attack may be related to the violent game is the randomness.
“We can’t say for sure what it was,” he said. “There was no provocation or anything. We just don’t get very many random assaults like this.”
Filmed attacks in several major cities include attacks on people of another race or ethnicity.
Attacks have collected headlines along with political and media controversy about acknowledging and reporting on race and crime.
It remains unknown if the Spokane Valley attackers filmed the assault. The victim said he couldn’t recall.
“He was banged up pretty bad,” Chamberlin said. The attackers punched him, knocked him down, and then kept kicking and punching him.
The man, who lives in an apartment near the Hico, declined a trip to the hospital.
He told deputies he noticed the group of young men outside and simply said: “What’s up, fellas?”
A witness inside the store stopped the attack and called for help as the young men left in a small, light-colored car similar to a Honda Civic.
Surveillance of the property does not include the section of the building where the attack occurred.
Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for anyone providing information leading to an arrest in this incident. People should call the tip line at 800-222-TIPS or forward the tip via Crime Stoppers’ website. Tipsters do not have to give their names to collect the reward.