• Police: Man punching people at random in Midtown


    ATLANTA - Local police are investigating a series of unprovoked attacks where the victim is punched, police say.

    One big challenge, according to reports, is the people being attacked never saw it coming.

    They are walking down the street, often in the middle of the day with friends, when out of nowhere; they are knocked to the ground by someone punching them as they walk by.

    Midtown Blue Security Patrol sent a warning Tuesday of at least four attacks. They included a mug shot of a man they say could be behind the crimes, which Atlanta police asked

    “He never looked up. He never made eye contact or anything. His right arm shot out, hit my friend in the face,” the witness said.

    He spoke to Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri by phone Tuesday. He said on Jan. 5, he and a colleague were walking along Crescent Avenue when a man passed by and punched his friend. He was knocked to the ground.

    I spoke to a man by phone Tuesday night who says on Jan. 5 he and a colleague were walking on Crescent Avenue when a man passed by and punched his friend, knocking him to the ground.

    “The guy just kept walking on. He didn't even run, he sauntered away. Like it was nothing. Wow, yeah, it was cold,” he said.

    “There was no chance for this person to protect his head or even himself so the chance for injury could be even greater in this case,” Atlanta Police Sgt. Greg Lyon said.

    Lyon says the unprovoked attacks have key differences from the knockout videos which became popular to post online last year.

    “He seems to be by himself. He's not with an entourage. No one’s videotaping him,”

    The witness told Channel 2 Action News his colleague hit his head on the ground and went to the hospital for evaluation. He says people nearby said they had seen the same thing happen to others in recent months.

    “There was no, ‘Give me your money,’ nothing. It was just completely, ‘Hey, I think it will be fun to hit this guy,’” the witness said.

    “I really do hope they find whoever is doing this and kind of make the streets safe for everybody,” resident Krista Whalen said.

    The witness said his friend suffered blurred vision after the attack but that he has no lasting injuries. Police say anytime someone is attacked unprovoked, it is a big concern for investigators.

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