Man yelling 'knockout' punches stranger near downtown bus station

Seena Sleem plans to have more on this story #LiveOnKMTR Thursday evening

EUGENE, Ore. - A suspect punched a stranger in the face while yelling "knockout" Monday near the downtown bus station, Eugene Police said.

Police arrested Christopher Alan Branham, 30, on charges of harassment and disorderly conduct.

The attacked happened around 1:30 p.m. Monday as a 44-year-old man walked by the Lane Transit District station in downtown Eugene, police said.

A man - later identified as Branham - walking the opposite direction suddenly punched the victim in the face and body while yelling "knockout," police said.

The blows knocked the victim to the ground. He was not seriously injured, police said.

A bystander came to the victim's defense, and Branham left the scene.

LTD staff followed Branham and helped a Eugene Police officer locate him. The officer took Branham into custody after warning him he would be pepper sprayed if he did not cooperate, police said.

Police said the attack resembled the "knockout" attacks reported elsewhere in the U.S., but with a few key difference.

In the widely publicized attacks on strangers elsewhere in the country, a victim is hit in the head at random by a passing individual, who is usually accompanied by a group filming the attack.

The attack Monday did not involve a group or a camera, police said.

Police said random attacks are difficult to prevent. They suggested the following personal safety tips.

  • Don’t let strangers into your ‘space.’ Keep plenty of distance between yourself and people you don’t wish to approach you. In general, you should not let individuals or groups of individuals get within striking distance.
     
  • Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you
     
  • If you are intoxicated in public, you become a prime target for robbery and assaults because your reactions are slow, you are not alert, and you can make bad choices
     
  • If you encounter two or more people and they split apart as you approach, to try and sandwich you between them, you should move so that you are not placed in that position. It is better to only have to deal with one angle of attack 
     
  • Don’t stop to talk with strangers asking for directions or other types of help as this can be a ploy to get close for an attack
     
  • Walk confidently and don’t avoid eye contact
     
  • Use the buddy system when walking after dark. You should know the person you are walking with well enough to trust them
     
  • Walk in lighted areas as much as possible and don’t walk too close to bushes, alleyways or other places where attackers can conceal themselves
     
  • If you feel you are in danger or being followed, call 9-1-1
     
  • If grabbed, fight back and make as much noise as possible
     
  • Do not get into someone’s car even if they display a weapon. It is better to fight back in the street where help is closer at hand and other people may hear your calls for help
     
  • If you get held up by someone with a weapon, it is better to surrender your property than to be hurt