Knockout game in Denver? Cops investigating three New Year's sucker-punch assaults

In recent months, videos have been popping up online that feature what's been dubbed the "knockout game" -- blindside sucker punches aimed at random strangers with the goal of leaving them unconscious.

The phenomenon has been reported in places like New York City, but not Denver. Now, however, three incidents on New Year's Eve raise the possibility that some locals have become knockout gamers. Videos, graphics and more below.

The info comes to us from 9News, which notes a trio of attacks in prominent downtown locations between 1:30 a.m. and 2:15 a.m. on January 1.

In each, the victims were cold-cocked for no apparent reason.

Below, see interactive graphics featuring the scenes of the attacks; if you have problems seeing the images, click "View Larger Map." First up is 16th and Blake....

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...followed by 20th and Market....

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...and 20th and Larimer:

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At this last spot, Nick Lloyd and a friend were reportedly waiting for a ride when a group of men approached -- and they wanted to do more than talk.

Continue for more about possible knockout-game attacks in Denver, including photos and videos. Lloyd was clobbered, and clobbered badly. He suffered multiple facial fractures and is scheduled to undergo surgery later this week.

"There's no motivation for it," Lloyd says in the 9News report shared here. "It's just find somebody random who looks like an easy target, hit them as hard as you can and run off."

At this point, the Denver Police Department isn't confirming that the assaults are linked, much less that they're examples of the knockout game. But this wouldn't be the first time a series of attacks in Denver are thought to have been motivated more by doing damage than robbery or the like.

Back in 2009, for instance, the DPD arrested thirty people in attacks that were thought to have been racially motivated, with the targets being Caucasian or Hispanic.

Whether this was true in all cases is a matter of dispute. In 2011, attorney David Lane filed a lawsuit on behalf of an arrestee, Aaron Puller, who spent sixteen days in jail on what the document described as false evidence.

This example serves a reminder not to jump to conclusions. Yet the thought that the knockout game has come to Denver is an undeniably frightening one. If you have any information about the New Year's Day attacks, you're encouraged to dial Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867). A reward of up to $2,000 is on the table.

Look below to see an ABC News report from November about the knockout game in general, followed by the aforementioned 9News piece.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa November 2009: "See the men (and women) accused of racially motivated assaults against whites, Hispanics."

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