Two Dayton teens are facing felony charges for allegedly attacking a homeless man and robbing him of $3 during the so-called “Knockout Game.”
The attacked happened March 7 in an alley near the Stivers School of the Arts on East Fifth Street, where the teens are students. Dayton police were alerted when a teacher at the school saw a video of the attack on a student’s cell phone, recorded it on her phone and reported it to administrators. From there, detectives were able to track down the two teens Monday, said Det. Nathan Curley of the Dayton police’s east patrol division.
“The kids admitted they started out by playing the ‘Knockout Game,’” Curley said. “That’s where you run up behind a victim who is not paying attention and you sucker-punch them, and try to knock them out.”
Videos of teens playing the “Knockout Game” are on the Internet, but this is the first case Dayton police has investigated, Curley said.
The victim, 51-year-old Ronald Baird, is a known panhandler in Dayton and was collecting cans neighbors left for him in the alley, Curley said.
In the video obtained exclusively by The Dayton Daily News, a teen is seen following Baird as he pushes a cart, then suddenly runs up behind him and punches Baird in the back of the head. Baird yells out before abandoning his cart and fleeing. The teen chases Baird down, striking him in the head again and pushing him into a fence. The teen then demands Baird’s wallet, which he hands over and says, “I got three bucks.” The teen takes the cash and the wallet, and demands Baird’s cell phone, to which he says, “I ain’t got no phone, I’m poor.”
The 17-year-old male who allegedly struck Baird and the 15-year-old male who assisted in the assault by recording it and verbally encouraging the attack have both been charged with robbery, a second-degree felony. Both were booked into the Montgomery County Juvenile Detention Center on Monday. Officials will pursue trying the teens as adults, Curley said.
Baird did suffer head injuries but it’s unknown if he sought medical attention. He called his brother, Bellbrook Mayor Bob Baird, and reported the attack, Curley said. The mayor could not be reached by phone Monday.
Police are trying to locate Baird, who is presumed homeless, to check his condition and get a statement regarding the attack. Anyone who can help officers locate him is asked to call (937) 222-7867.
Detectives hope the attack doesn’t start a trend.
“I think that this is kind of a copy cat thing. They’re seeing other people online, on YouTube, doing this and they think it’s cool,” Curley said. “Obviously, there is a victim in this crime who was injured and hurt, and I would say would you like someone to do this to your relative?”