When I first read about the random attack on a 59-year-old man at Great Frederick Fair in Maryland I was stunned by it but I also figured this must be an incredibly rare occurrence. Then I learned that a 13-year-old boy had died last night after a very similar attack here in California. Both attacks involved two teenagers. In each case, one of the teens sucker-punched the target causing them to collapse on concrete and sustain major injuries.

Last week John Marvin Weed was attending an annual fair in Maryland with his family. According to police, he was approached by a group of teens who asked him for a dollar. When Weed refused to give them the money, they beat him unconscious:

Prosecutors said Weed was attending the fair Friday with his family when he was “harassed and followed by a group of teens.” The prosecutor said the teens were angry Weed would not give them a dollar bill, and that’s when they allegedly hit him in the head.

“There was some sort of dialogue that ensued after that that made it a negative situation. There was a punch that was delivered to the back of the head by the 16-year-old, at that point in time there was a number of minutes that elapsed after that at which point in time, you all saw the video, the younger 15-year-old came flying through, lands a deadly blow to the victim,” said Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith.

Smith said video shows one of the suspects spitting on the victim after punching him. Weed never regained consciousness. First responders rushed him to Shock Trauma in Baltimore where he later died.

The two teens are brothers and have been arrested and charged with assault. It’s still possible the 15-year-old will be charged with manslaughter as an adult. Today, the victim’s family released a statement which read in part, “We just wanted to spend time together as a family at the fair, but due to this horrible act of unprovoked violence my brother is now dead.”

I wasn’t planning on writing about that crime because, again, it didn’t seem like something that was likely to happen beyond this one terrible incident. Then today I learned that there had been a very similar attack at a Moreno Valley Middle School last week. A 13-year-old boy was knocked unconscious last Monday by two teenage attackers. Last night he died from his injuries:

Deputies were called to a fight involving students on the campus, located at 15261 Legendary Drive, about 1:10 p.m. the afternoon of the incident.

Cellphone video that circulated on social media showed the boy being hit in the face by one boy, then sucker-punched on the side of his head by another. The second punch caused him to fall and hit his head against a pillar.

The boy who hit Diego first then hurries over to punch him again while he’s on the ground, the video shows. That boy then runs off and the video ends…

Classmates told KTLA that Diego had been previously bullied, including on social media. They also indicated violence has been an ongoing problem at the school.

So now I’m wondering how it is that something this awful could happen twice in the space of a week? I’m not suggesting any connection, just that this sort of thing obviously isn’t as rare as I had assumed it must be.

There were no guns or knives involved in these attacks. No doubt if there had been these stories would have quickly become national news. But is it really any less newsworthy that kids on both sides of the country are putting people into comas with their fists? Not only that but apparently doing so with little or no provocation from victims who never even tried to fight back.

I honestly don’t know what to make of it. This California attack happened about an hour from my home. I have a son who just started Middle School. I can’t imagine what Diego’s parents are going through right now.

Here’s a local news report on the attack in Maryland:

And here’s a report on the attack in California: