Watch above: A 12-year-old boy suffered a broken jaw after he was violently attacked by a group of teens. Fletcher Kent has the story.
EDMONTON – An unprovoked attack on a 12-year-old Grande Prairie boy has the victim’s family worried about a violent game.
On Saturday, Thomas Steidel was playing in a park with a friend. His grandmother, Cathy Rode, says a group of boys ran towards the pair screaming ‘fight’ while holding a recording device.
“They started to run away,” said Rode. “His friend was not as fast and was the first to be hit. My grandson went back to help his friend and he received the brunt of the attack.”
Rode says the attackers hit Steidel in the face ten times and broke his jaw. It is now wired shut and has two titanium plates in it.
Both Rode and police believe the attack was random. Steidel recognized a couple of his attackers but says he didn’t really know them. There was no reason for a fight, he says.
Rode believes this is a variation of the ‘knockout game.’ The violent game sees an attacker randomly pick a victim. He then tries to knock the person out with a single punch. Typically, someone records the attack and posts the video online.
If that is what happened here, Rode says she is disgusted.
“This is an assault. It is an attack. It is not kids being kids. It is random. It is cruel.”
“I can’t believe this is what our society has come to, that we’re so craving this moment of fame that we’ll turn to violence, we’ll attack some innocent person.”
Whatever this attack proves to be, Rode says it has taken a toll on many people in her family.
Her grandson’s siblings are now worried about going to the park alone. Steidel will not be able to play baseball or umpire this summer.
The Grande Prairie RCMP is investigating. A spokesperson says officers are taking the case seriously. They have suspects but have yet to make any arrests.
At this point, police are unwilling to label this as an attempt to play the knockout game.
To make matters worse, the 12-year-old had to wait four days for surgery on his broken jaw.
Alberta Health Services explains that during Steidel’s time in hospital, there was a surge of more serious cases that came into the Grande Prairie emergency department. Those cases bumped the boy down the priority list.
AHS has since apologized to the family for the distress caused by the delay.
© Shaw Media, 2014