ST. LOUIS (CBS St. Louis) — A youth criminal justice expert says there is no pattern in how victims are targeted in a “knockout game.”

Jeffrey Butts of John Jay College in New York tells CBS News that victims of the “game” — which involves a group of teens who try to knock out a person with one punch – are considered to be an “other” by the assailants.

“The victims are someone who the young people consider to be an ‘other,'” Butts told CBS News. “That could be a racial difference, it could be a religious difference, it could be an age difference, it just could be a class difference.”

Butts believes that the young attackers are trying to prove their manhood by knocking a person unconscious with just one punch.

“Teenagers get involved in this game to prove their manhood and, ironically, what they ultimately end up doing is proving that they’re still children,” Butts said.

CBS News special correspondent John Miller said that it’s hard to determine how widespread the “knockout game” is because there is no statistic for it.

“If you look for it in the statistics, there’s no cutout for the knockout game in the numbers; they’re categorized as assaults, so you can’t search backwards for them effectively,” Miller stated.

The “knockout game” has turned deadly. Known deaths have taken place in St. Louis, Chicago, Syracuse, N.Y., and Hoboken, N.J.

The most recent “knockout game” assault happened in St. Louis on Monday when a 23-year-old college student was ambushed while walking to her car. According to KMOV-TV, she suffered a double fracture of the bone under her left eye.

In May, 20-year-old Elex Murphy was convicted of second-degree murder in the “Knockout Game” killing of 72-year-old Hoang Nguyen in 2011 in St. Louis.

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