DA: North Amityville man faces indictment in 'knockout' attacks
A North Amityville man who tried to punch random people with a blow to the head in a violent practice known as a "knockout game" is expected to be indicted and arraigned Wednesday on assault charges, the Suffolk district attorney's office said.
The defendant, Darryl Mitchell, 20, attacked seven residents in the North Amityville and North Babylon neighborhoods since April for no reason, said Robert Clifford, a spokesman for the district attorney.
The youngest victim was 17 and the oldest 69.
Mitchell is believed to be the first person arrested in Suffolk in the so-called knockout game, in which the attackers sucker-punch unsuspecting victims on the street in an attempt to knock them unconscious.
Two of the latest attacks occurred Dec. 1, when two men were struck on Jefferson Avenue, the street on which Mitchell lives, Clifford said. The attacks began about 7:30 a.m. when Mitchell punched a 66-year-old man in the face, breaking his $300 eyeglasses, said Clifford. About half an hour later, Mitchell hit another man who was heading to church.
"The defendant ran up to him and suddenly punched him in the face multiple times and he fell to the ground," Clifford said.
Two other attacks occurred on Nov. 10 and Nov. 30 in the middle of the afternoon.
On Nov. 10, a lawyer saw Mitchell walking "aggressively" toward him and moved toward the curb to avoid him, but Mitchell ran up and punched the lawyer in the right eye, cutting his eyelid, Clifford said. The cut required seven stitches, he said.
On Nov. 30, a 69-year-old man was rummaging through the trunk of his car, parked on Williams Avenue in North Amityville, when he heard someone approach from behind.
"When he turned around, he was punched twice in the head," District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a statement. "He told us he spent a couple of weeks with horrendous headaches."
Police have reported similar attacks in other parts of the United States, including in New York City. Late last month, the NYPD was investigating a series of attacks to determine whether they were part of the knockout game. Commissioner Ray Kelly had said eight attacks in the city were being reviewed as of Nov. 26.
Several attacks may fit the pattern -- sudden assaults on the street by a stranger without provocation. The assaults have been clustered in Brooklyn's Crown Heights area, where Jewish people have been the targets, said Rabbi Yaacov Behrman, executive director of the Jewish Future Alliance, an advocacy group. Four or five of those assaults are being reviewed as possible "knockouts," Behrman said.
Mitchell was arrested Dec. 4 after four of the victims identified him through photographs. He pleaded not guilty to four counts of third-degree assault at his initial arraignment, Clifford said.
Mitchell is being held in jail on $50,000 cash bail.
The grand jury indictment, expected to be unveiled Wednesday, will include charges stemming from the attacks described above as well as three additional ones, Clifford said.