CREATED Nov. 27, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Lee County Sheriff's Office released cell phone video Wednesday of a group of teens attacking a 72-year-old man.
The video shows the teens, who investigators say are all members of Cypress Lake High's girl's basketball team, sneaking up behind Robert Lerberg while he was gardening outside his condo on Memoli Lane.
The video shows one teen run up to him and kick him to the ground.
The video then shows the group running way laughing.
The Lee County Sheriff's Office says it's all part of a new trend called the "knockout" game, where teens attack strangers and try to knock them unconscious.
"People wondering if it's real or a media hype, I can answer that question for them, it's real," Lerberg said.
89-year-old Harry Hurwitz also knows first hand the disturbing game is real.
About a half hour after Lerberg was attacked, the same group of teens rang Hurwitz's doorbell.
"I stepped out to see what it was she was pointing to and there was another girl standing here and whack," Hurwitz said.
One teen slapped Hurwitz in the face then the group took off running.
Hurwitz says he didn't think anything of it until he saw reports of the "knockout" game on the news.
"And it suddenly occurred to me, I don't believe it, this is not New York, but obviously these kinds of things spread like wildfire," Hurwitz said.
Deputies arrested a 15-year-old girl for both attacks.
She is charged with two felony counts of battery against someone over the age of 65.
Herwitz says he thinks educating her on what she did wrong is a better punishment than making her pay for the crime in the criminal justice system.
"It's not that long ago I was a young person myself and they get sucked into these situations without realizing the consequences," Hurwitz said.
Lerberg says all the girls need to face consequences.
"(They need) to learn that people are human beings, not objects and not to just go along with the mob mentality."
The Lee County Sheriff's Office says the other teens involved have not been charged so far.
Sheriff Mike Scott says only the one teen physically assaulted the victims and sometimes it's better for participants to be witnesses in cases like these.
Another woman was attacked in the same neighborhood around the same time as the other two incidents.
Officials say they believe all three cases are related.