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Canyon Country woman assaulted twice within a month

Posted: August 27, 2014 6:49 p.m.
Updated: August 27, 2014 6:49 p.m.

After being attacked twice within the span of a month while walking home, Canyon Country resident Barbara Kritzberg says she’ll be prepared in case it happens again.

Kritzberg said she was first attacked about a month ago while walking home around 7:30 p.m. from a bus stop at Soledad Canyon and Sand Canyon roads, but it wasn’t that serious.

“It wasn’t really an assault. I’d say I was accosted. I was pushed,” Kritzberg said Wednesday.

When it happened again this past Saturday night — again as she was walking home from the bus stop — her injuries were severe, she said, including a couple of fractured ribs, a split lip and a fracture eye socket.

She remembers being approached around 9:10 p.m. Saturday by two young men, both white, as she was walking on Jakes Way from Sierra Highway. But the attack happened so fast she doesn’t recall details of her assailants.

“I was walking down Jakes Way when one of them grabbed me by the shoulder and basically threw me to the ground,” she said.
“I don’t remember being punched, but the doctor said my injuries were consistent with being punched in the eye.”

Kritzberg can’t pinpoint a motive for either attack.
“They didn’t steal anything. They didn’t touch me, sexually. They just assaulted me and ran away,” she said.

Now Kritzberg is wondering whether she was a victim of the “knockout game,” in which assailants — usually more than one — knock out an unsuspecting victim with a single punch and then post a video of the attack online.

“That’s what worried me,” she said. “I hadn’t even heard of the ‘knockout game’ before, but then I went online and did some research on knockout gangs. I can’t say for sure that this is what happened to me, but it resembles exactly how this works.”

Some social media critics say the existence of the so-called game is a myth; others say it’s under-reported by the mainstream media.

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station officials said they don’t believe the attacks on Kritzberg match the “knockout game” criteria.

Kritzberg is 60, and many of the victims seen in online knockout videos have been senior citizens, one investigator said.

Attacking in groups is a typical hallmark of knockout game assaults, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Lt. Ron Price said Wednesday.

Although Kritzberg recalls two men involved the second attack on her, Price said she listed only one assailant when she reported the crime to deputies.

“He punched her, without a doubt, but I’m not going to call it a knockout incident,” Price said.

“The whole point of gangs doing this is that they want everyone to see it. They capture it on video. That didn’t happen here.”

Price, who specializes in investigating robberies and assaults, said local deputies haven’t seen the knockout trend developing in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“We don’t have reports of any similar incidents,” said Price. “We’re not seeing anything like that here.”

Either way, Kritzberg said, she’ll be prepared the next time she walks home alone.

“I plan to buy some pepper spray,” she said.




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