EXCLUSIVE: 'Knockout Game' victim speaks out

Phil Lipof has the story
December 6, 2013 3:29:03 PM PST
The victim of a vicious knockout attack in New Jersey is speaking out for the first time.

He was cold-cocked, and hit not just with a fist, but with a glove with hard plastic knuckles.

Two of the four attackers are still on the run.

"All of a sudden, I was trying to watch my back and these two came around front and punches my face," the victim said.

The 36-year-old restaurant worker does not want his name or face on television, and who could blame him?

He still has headaches from a concussion and six stitches in his lip from a vicious, random attack that police say was part of the so called "Knockout Game".

But he wasn't just hit with a fist.

"It was kind of like one of those motorcycle gloves. (With the hard plastic on the knuckles?) Exactly, yeah," the victim said.

The gloves are meant to protect a riders' hand in an accident, certainly not to punch someone in the face.

The four young attackers ran up the street and pummeled another man who also had to be taken to the hospital.

South Orange police arrested 18-year-old Romaine McKenzie. A 17-year-old also turned himself into police.

"I knew something like that would happen," McKenzie's neighbor said.

The woman lived next to McKenzie and told Eyewitness News that his mother died last year and his cousin abandoned him.

"She packed up her stuff two months ago and moved to Florida and left him here, on the streets with nowhere to go," the neighbor said.

The victim was attacked on the corner of Irvington and Academy. The area can be dark at night, but it's just a block away from downtown South Orange where there are families and business at all hours.

People living and working there heard about the "Knockout Game" but thought they'd never see it there.

"It's outrageous. Growing up we never experienced anything like that. Now that we are grown we've got to be afraid of walking around our own streets, nah," said Louis Encarnacion, a South Orange resident.

As for the latest knockout victim, like so many Eyewitness News has spoken with, he now looks over his shoulder constantly.

Both McKenzie and the 17-year-old are being charged with aggravated assault.