Most people in St. Louis breathed easier when a homeowner shot and killed Demetrius Murphy.
Police suspected that Murphy and his gang had attacked up to 300 innocent people while participating in the so-called “Knockout Game.” In this “game,” a group of young hoodlums would approach an unsuspecting victim and attempt to knock him out with one punch. As the victim lay on the ground, he would be kicked and beaten until the assailants grew tired.
In one notorious case, Matt Quain and a neighbor, Jon Kelly, were walking home one night. Kelly recalled what happened to his friend: Murphy’s gang “came out of the shadows and popped him. One guy hit him once. He dropped like a rock.” Quain suffered numerous injuries, including a shattered jaw and other facial fractures.
However, he considers himself fortunate to be alive. Had not Francis Slay, the mayor of St. Louis, and his bodyguard, Blaise Peluso, happened by, Quain may have suffered more severe wounds. Peluso noticed Quain lying unconscious in a pool of blood and stopped to help while the attackers slipped away into the shadows.
A 13-year-old girl identified the assailant as Demetrius Murphy. Unfortunately, all charges were dropped after the witness suddenly refused to testify.
Murphy walked, but his violent nature would catch up to him. Two years later, as he attempted to burglarize a residence on Tennessee Avenue, the homeowner shot him. (In typical cowardly fashion, Murphy died begging the homeowner not to shoot him again.) The shooter was not charged because he acted in self-defense.
The so-called “Knockout Game” should be called the “Sucker-Punch Game.” Groups of mostly young African-Americans generally target whites or Asians, delivering vicious assaults when the victim least expects it.
These assaults can be deadly. Elderly St. Louis resident Hoang Nguyen died from a brutal attack, and his wife was severely injured. Alex Murphy, A.K.A “The Knockout King,” was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.