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Unprovoked attacks at heart of ‘Knockout King’

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The 72-year-old retired schoolteacher immigrated to St. Louis from Vietnam with his wife less than four years earlier to be near their daughter. The couple was returning to their apartment after walking to a grocery store on an April morning in broad daylight.

They took a shortcut through an alley, where they saw a group of young people approaching. Suddenly, one of them charged. Hoang was attacked as he stepped in front of his wife to protect her. The attack went on as he begged for mercy, she told police.

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Hoang died of massive injuries. Elex Murphy, 18, was charged with first-degree murder and allegedly told police the attack was part of the Knockout King game. His attorney declined to comment.

St. Louis authorities are going to the source to combat further attacks. A special police squad has been assigned to focus on Knockout King, and a city prosecutor is designated for the attacks. But Isom said equally important is an outreach effort to talk to students.

"Certainly we take this very seriously and we’re making every effort to stop it," Isom said.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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