Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Young people attacking strangers in Columbia Heights: the "knockout game"?

There's a disturbing trend in our area recently: young people seem to be playing something called the "knockout game," where they hit an unsuspecting person with the goal of knocking them out with one punch.

There have been three such attacks in Columbia Heights in the last week, with one occurring on 14th Street on Thursday around 10 pm, one on Friday in the same area, and another on 11th Street near Clifton. This is also a potentially fatal attack, and in the past people in other cities have been killed, with the perpetrators caught and charged with murder. The victims in DC have sustained bloody noses and other injuries, but thankfully nothing more serious than that.

All the attacks were done by a group of young men, though it's not clear if it's the same males each time. In the Clifton Street incident, the victim, a young woman, was riding her bike through a group of men. In the two 14th Street attacks, a group of males on bikes who rode up.

I don't need to say how terrible and despicable this kind of thing is, but please be mindful of your surroundings. Obviously it's sad to say that you should watch out for groups of men, but that seems to be the M.O. here.

I had a personal experience with something similar a few years ago too when a group of kids in Shaw just attacked me out of nowhere while I was walking on the sidewalk. I wasn't badly hurt and the kids were caught after they ran into the Shaw Metro, but it was a scary experience. I also got really mad afterwards: why would somebody do this? What is wrong with people?

There's a MPD 3rd and 4th district meeting Wednesday, which covers Columbia Heights, so I hope concerned people go and point this out to MPD. So far I haven't heard a response from the police.

The meeting is at the 4th District substation at 750 Park Road NW starting at 7 pm.

ANC chair Kent Boese pointed out on the Columbia Heights listserve two contacts with MPD if you have questions about the meetings or crime in general:

PSA 409 (north of Park Road)
Lt. Judith Mack

PSA 302 (south of Park Road)
Lt. Jonathan Munk


  1. Just absolute disgusting behavior. Where I come from it's called a 'sucker punch'. These kids will one day mess with the wrong person and hopefully learn their lesson, until then we have to stick together and remain vigilant.

  2. Have the police released any descriptions of people doing this?

  3. Black males ages 15-20 with dreadlocks


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