'Knockout Game' victim and family speak out

N.J. Burkett reports from Brooklyn
November 25, 2013 2:41:34 PM PST
For the first time, the man who was knocked to the ground as he walked on a Brooklyn street is speaking out.

He and his family are talking about the disturbing and growing trend of sucker-punching that some call "The Knockout Game".

Lauro Ponce is not the same and he may never be the same.

He was walking to his home in Bushwick, and just as a young couple was about to pass him on the street he was struck with a single brutal punch to the face.

The man stole Mr. Ponce's cellphone, almost as an afterthought, as his defenseless, 62-year-old victim lay bleeding on the pavement with a fractured skull.

"This was one punch. An innocent man, walking down the street, minding his own business and his life has changed forever. And it's never going to go back to what it used to be," said Johanna Ponce, the victim's niece.

Lauro Ponce is a proud man, an immigrant from Ecuador who worked in a factory to support his extended family in South America.

It was when Eyewitness News asked about them, that Mr. Ponce sobbed uncontrollably; knowing he was no longer able to work and unable to help support his family.

The attack left him with a traumatic brain injury and he is recovering in a nursing home. "Normal people," he told Eyewitness News, "don't do things like this."

"Whoever started this, these are the consequences. They think it's a game, but it's not," Johanna Ponce said, "It didn't only happen to him, it happened to the whole family. The whole family is suffering."