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Henrico suspects insists he’s not part of ‘knock-out’ game

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HENRICO, Va. (WTVR)--Henrico Police say they've had one "knockout-game" style attack, which happened in a West End parking lot at the Martin’s on West Broad St.

But the 17-year-old suspect arrested in the case says he wasn't playing the game.

"It was open-handed and I didn't punch him,” said Leon Thomas, Jr.  “So you didn't try and knock him out?” “No, sir!"

Police say the incident at the Martin’s location had similarities to incidents they've heard about nationwide.  But they acknowledge unless someone readily admits he’s part of the "knockout" game, they can't officially say there's a connection.

The suspect’s father, Leon Thomas, Sr. insists there is no connection and he doesn't want his son to be lumped in with a crowd that takes aim at the unknowing, the innocent.

"Stand up and make it known that my kid is not that type of person,” Thomas said.   “He made a mistake, yes, but he's remorseful and willing to accept whatever consequences, and I don't want punishment for something he wasn't doing."

The younger Thomas says that Friday night he slapped a man carrying groceries to his car, violating a rule he says his mom and dad had instilled in him, to always keep your hands to yourself.

Thomas, Jr. says he and a few of his friends came up with the idea but he says he acted alone.

"It was Friday night and I was acting stupid,” he said.  “I picked the wrong thing to do."


  • Joyce

    So, you decided to go on tv to show that your son is an IDIOT, but not as big of an idiot to play the knockout game? Parenting at its best…..

    • K

      False, this is not a felony. This is a Simple Assault-Class 1 Misdemeanor. The youth is also a juvenile so it is doubtful that he will even see the inside of a detention center.

  • X

    Ridiculous. The kid assaulted a person for no reason. He deserves time in jail then he will really be sorry. Whining on TV doesn’t cut it. See you in 2-5 years.

  • shawn

    great another black family standing up for their childs stupid behavior.Is anyone in the black community ever responsible for anything?This has gotten old at this point.I don’t know whats more surprising ,that he went on tv to defend his thug son or that the father is still around in the first place.This is what happens when you have the president and the media make excuses for them.And no he wont do time because henrico makes excuses for them also.Like the ‘blacks are getting suspended from school more then whites”comment.we must not change their behavior we must just suspend more

    • MEME

      WOW Shawn really??? Why is that when one black person does something wrong “we all” get labeled and people start commenting on things that are not relevant to the story. (foodstamps, surprised the father is still in the home, suspending kids from school, etc) I am black, I have children and yes the father of my children and I are married. He and I work everyday to support our children and we teach our children right from wrong. We believe that there are good and bad people in all races, we teach our family to respect everyone and not to judge people based on sterotypes. Now, I agree that this was this so called “knock out game”. I also believe he did not act alone. By his own addmission he said he and his friends came up with the idea, because the others did not take part in the physical assault, they were very much apart of the planning of this attack and they all should be prosecuted!!!!

  • Chad Alton

    maybe someone should try doing the same thing to his mom or dad. then say it wasnt a game. nothing better to do on a friday night. how about go inside martins and get a J.O.B

  • Betty

    This scares me to no end. I know it can happen to anyone, anywhere but my sister is a courtesy clerk at Martin’s and I’ve always worried about her safety because of the traffic in the parking lot. I never even thought about something like this happening. To the punk’s parents, it doesn’t matter what you call it, an assault is an assault and it was totally unwarranted. The guy was doing his job and got attacked. I feel almost certain that your son probably thought this was funny up until the point that he got caught and arrested. This world is a scary place and getting worse all the time.

  • Average Joe

    To make this a black & white thing is even more ignorant than the people committing the crimes. Stupidity & immaturity comes in all races & by the sound of some of your remarks, all ages. Punish these fools for their crimes. Dad sounds even more stupid than his son by not wanting him labeled with the “knock out gamers.” As one person commented, assault is assault, whether you actually say it was part of the so-called game or not. He had no reason to strike the unsuspecting individual & to hear that he says “it was just Friday night” really makes it like he feels okay with his actions. Parents stop defending your kids when they make stupid decisions like this .What’s next, he shoots someone just because it’s Saturday???? For all of those blacks vs. whites, realize in this world we live in, the color of your skin isn’t what drives you one way or the other, it’s more about having & not having, rich vs. poor.

  • Lee Hall

    But, isn’t it a black and white thing? Have you seen the stats on crime in the Richmond area? Blacks committing hate crimes of this sort vastly out number whites by more than 10 to 1. Check the stats and rely on the media to continue to cover-up these crimes.

  • John Smith

    I m sure Joh Burkett could have easily found the victim and attempted an interview. I assume he discovered the victim was white. Everyone knows reverse racism would be too controversial for liberal media.

    Also, Burkett appeared to express understanding and borderline sorrow for the young man. A serious crime was committed and the only comment emphasized was that he was “taught to keep his hands to himself”. And Rochelle said “he appears to have learned a valuable lesson”.

    The old double standard will never die.

  • Sharon Payne

    So, your son slaps someone in a parking lot for no reason and he’s not that kind of person? Exactly what kind of person do you think he is?

    Want to guess what kind of person is going to whup his butt? Or worse.

    If your kid hits me or anyone in my family I’m going to act as if my life is threatened and act accordingly. That makes me a smart person, not a victim.

    Parents hold your child accountable for his actions, don’t leave it up to his potential victims. You’re not going to like the results

  • Joseph

    It unfortunately is a Black – White thing. The only thing this kid is going to learn or his parents are teaching him is that he and his friends can get away with punching white people. Many of the people I know carry pistols and I understand why. A blow to the head can be life threatening or cause permanent damage. Obviously he admits that he and his “black” friends came up with the idea to punch random “white” people .. he can call it what he wants but because he doesn’t know how to punch or knock someone out, the intention is the same. No values, no parenting, no ethics, too much of society making excuses for it. Blacks make up less than 13% of the US population, yet the make up 45% of the prison population, and 39% of welfare recipients. I am not responsible for your child’s education or work or food. Instill the correct attitude and take responsibility.

  • Average Joe

    Once again, you all are throwing numbers out there making it out to be racially motivated. Ignorance and crime doesn’t discriminate. Yeah, you hear more about the inner city crimes. Not once have I heard or seen a black child going into a school on a shooting spree or being caught with bomb making materials. We could sit here all day & throw out references making it look like one race is more civilized than the other. However, all we would be doing is putting a band aid on the problem instead of healing the wound. We, as a human race, need to realize that the color of your skin doesn’t make you any smarter, any dumber, any more civilized or superior to those of other races. I am the first to admit that this young black kid & his father look like total idiots trying to defend his actions. I would feel the exact same way if he was Caucasian or any other race. I guess Joseph & others missed that in my original remark. Ask yourself, are you going to be a part of the problem or the solution?????? I would love to discuss this and any other issue in a dignified forum.

  • Anila Abhay

    This is not new. These knockout games and other kinds of racial violence are covered in detail in the book “White Girl Bleed a Lot”.

  • Highland Springs Springer

    Some of you people really show more racism then “black people” I for one am Caucasian and I lived in Henrico County went to Highland Springs High School a 98% black school the boy has white friends and it wasn’t racial it was a dumb kid trying to be cool also he is lucky he didn’t get shot being that VA is a carry state you people need to open your eyes and realize that not everything is black and white anymore we have moved on to color tvs

  • Mr.C

    Act of racism? really? Ok well that’s completely absurd. I personally know the kid (and I’ve known him for most of his life) and he’s definitely not racist. Throw that out the window. I would agree that he’s not the brightest crayon in the box but that doesn’t make him a bad kid. He’s also not a “thug” and not a under “bad parenting.” And if you continue to insist that he is, you are obviously not very bright yourself. I’m definitely not saying that what he did was right. As a matter of fact, it was very stupid and I do believe he should take part in some kind of community service. Definitely not jail time for smacking some guy on the back of the head. Anyway, I’m just saying that, knowing what I know, I’m pretty sure he won’t do it again. And if he does, I’ll beat him up myself. ;)

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