Video footage of a Cambridge man walking up to a stranger and delivering a single sucker-punch to the head raised questions as to whether the "knockout game" was gaining traction in Massachusetts.
But officials said the nature of Saturday's surprise attacks don't match up to the "knockout game," a violent phenomenon that calls for participants to sock a stranger once and leave them cold on the ground.
"[The assault footage] definitely doesn't fit the profile," Cambridge police deputy Steven DeMarco told BostInno on Tuesday. "A knockout game [attack] is usually videotaped and put on YouTube."
A surveillance camera housed inside of a furniture store on Massachusetts Avenue caught the alleged "knockout," on tape: in it, a person is seen punching another man who had just left the shop. The suspect reportedly assaulted two other men the very same day.
According to CBS' local station in Boston, the assailant reportedly tried hitting the chef of a nearby restaurant just minutes before he turned on the others.
The furniture store's owner told WBZ that he helped the two other men who'd gotten punched.
"We ran out to help [the third victim], brought him inside. This guy had a bruised ear and cheekbone. He was going ballistic," BoConcept's Anthony Goodh said on Monday. "Then the previous victim came in. We helped him, too. He had a big fat lip."
Police described the attacker as a tall, black man in his twenties. He was last seen wearing a black coat, knit cap and blue jeans, CBS local reported.
Police told CBS that these assaults didn't appear to be part of the "knockout game," in which participants usually shout, "knock out!" then later post a video of the punch on the Internet.
"We believe at this point, that these assaults were not a case of 'knockout' but a situation where an individual who was either under the influence or suffering from some type of mental illness was responsible for the assaults," Deputy Superintendent Jack Albert to WBZ.