A sick "knockout game" is sweeping New York, police have claimed.
Shocked residents say thugs are randomly assaulting strangers "all over" the US city.
The spate of mindless attacks come years after a similar craze, the New York Post reports.
A retired police chief warned children and pensioners are being targeted amid concerns over a lack of police presence on the streets.
The attacks are said to include a woman being roundhouse kicked by a stranger outside a train station and a brutally beaten Catholic deacon.
Police footage showed Deacon Frederick Kurr, 74, being punched in the face while struggling to use a cash machine on the subway.
“Don’t shout,” the attacker allegedly told the victim when he yelled for help.
“I just felt like punching someone.”
The deacon’s daughter, Heidi Kurr, said: “To get sucker punched for no reason at all … that’s sad. I am scared for him.”
Residents are on red alert in the city's Upper West Side.
A poster on a community Facebook group reported a man in black trying to "sucker punch" a girl near Central Park two weeks ago.
A local responded, “This is happening all over. I was sucker punched by a disturbed man in Chelsea” — and left with two black eyes.
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On Monday a stranger punched a 67-year-old man in the face on a Queens subway platform in an apparent unprovoked attack, police said.
NYPD Sergeant Joseph Imperatrice told The Post.: “These incidents aren’t happening in front of officers. They are happening due to opportunists taking advantage of the anti-police, anti-accountability era."
The founder of Blue Lives Matter NYC and a 15-year-veteran added: “It is a dangerous time to be out and about strolling in New York City.
"The combination of criminals and mentally ill individuals roaming the streets equals disaster waiting to happen.
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“The city needs to get back to old-school policing … high visibility foot posts and patrol."
Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, noted “a number of attacks that some would term as ‘sucker punches’ against seniors and children in NYC, the most recent in the Bronx.
“It might be the power of social media that makes the perception that it’s happening everywhere, but it is a real concern that shouldn’t be taken lightly.”
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The NYPD, when asked if about knockout game or unproved-punch trends, said, “data is not kept to that level of specificity.”
But police described footage of a thug randomly sucker-punching and breaking a 47-year-old man's jaw on January 20 as a “possible knockout game” in the Bronx.
Jose Gonzalez, a 48-year-old homeless man — who has reportedly been collared six times for punching random victims – was arrested over the attack.
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