On Monday, December 10, at about 1:30 p.m., a 44-year-old white Eugene man was walking downtown near the LTD Bus Station at 10th and Willamette, when a 30-year-old male coming toward him from the opposite direction suddenly punched him several times in the face and body while yelling “knockout.” The victim was knocked to the ground, and a second, unknown man came to his defense.
LTD employees followed the suspect, Christopher Alan Branham, age 30 (no address), and advised police of his location. A Eugene Police downtown officer responded to the area on foot, found Branham and attempted to get him to sit on the ground. Branham was not cooperative, but was taken into custody without incident after being advised he would be pepper sprayed if he stood up again. Brahman was charged with Harassment-Physical Molest and Disorderly Conduct.
There have been incidents in other parts of the nation reporting a ‘knockout’ type of assault where a victim is hit in the head at random by a passing individual, who is usually accompanied by a group filming the attack. The December 10 assault is dissimilar to this type of attack as there was no group and no filming occurred. However, given that the suspect yelled ‘knockout,’ and due to publicity about the trend, police would like to alert the public and provide some general safety tips.
Although an attack at random is difficult if not impossible to prevent, there are some personal safety tips that may be helpful, and that come in handy for many scenarios.
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