Senseless violence is escalating at an alarming pace across the United States these days.
In the latest disturbing incident, a high school track star was sucker-punched in the middle of a race by another athlete who was not competing as parents and other onlookers watched in horror.
To his credit, the punched racer — who fell to the ground in pain after being attacked — eventually got up and finished the race, according to Complex.
A viral Twitter video captured the frightening assault as it unfolded, with one onlooker saying, “Are you f***ing kidding me? Are you f***ing kidding me?”
WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language that some viewers will find offensive.
High school track race fight club pic.twitter.com/0nbDRz5Iur
— Baseball Fight Club (@mlb_fights) March 29, 2022
The attack occurred during the 1,600-meter race at the Tohopekaliga Tiger Invitational in Kissimmee, Florida, on March 28, according to the New York Post.
Witnesses said the runner, who was in first place, had yelled at another athlete who was not competing to get off the track.
For some bizarre reason, the puncher stood in the middle of the track during the race. In general, this is not allowed during track events anywhere.
“Things escalated on the next lap when the other athlete further impeded the race, prompting a shove from the runner,” the Post reported. “The other athlete retaliated by chasing him down and delivering a sucker punch to the back of his head.”
However, Nathan Carter, the attorney for the punched runner, issued a statement insisting that not only was his client considering pressing charges, but he also might file a lawsuit.
Carter said the only reason his client initially did not press charges was that the sheriff’s office had threatened to arrest the victim if he did so.
“The family has read reports that the OCSD claims [my client] refused to press charges,” Carter said in a statement to TMZ. “This is false. The family of the victim did want to press charges for this vicious attack and assault caught on video and witnessed by hundreds of people.
“The OCSD deputy told the family that if [my client] pressed charges, then he would also be arrested for battery. Only because of this threat did the family choose not to press charges.”
The attorney also scolded race officials, saying if they had kept the sucker-puncher off the track during the race, the assault could’ve been prevented.
Should the victim press charges?
“If this event hired proper officials to help run this track meet, they could have prevented this,” Carter said in his statement. “They could have prevented the CC athlete from standing on the track during the first turn. Or they could have moved the CC athlete after the first lap incident. Or they could have moved the CC athlete before the second lap incident. Or they could have stopped the CC athlete before he chased [my client] down and sucker-punched him.
“They had many opportunities to prevent this and failed to do so.”