A spike in criminal activity and random acts of violence has plagued cities across the United States in recent years, and one of the many driving forces behind the trend appears to be the pursuit of social media attention.
That seemed to be the impetus behind one suspect’s alleged unprovoked attacks on individuals walking in a Houston, Texas, park.
According to police, 19-year-old Alford Lewis recorded himself punching at least two victims in Wortham Park and uploaded video footage of the attacks. Locals shared the video further in an attempt to identify the suspect and Lewis reportedly admitted guilt while attempting to downplay the severity of his actions.
“You know, I just made a mistake and everybody makes mistakes,” he claimed.
The teen went on to cite his desire for views on social media platforms including YouTube and TikTok as the reason he engaged in the violent behavior.
“I really didn’t expect for it to go so left, you know,” Lewis added.
In fact, he sought to emphasize his belief that at least one of the individuals he targeted was not upset after being blindsided by the punch.
“What people don’t see is that I shook his hand after and gave the man a hug,” Lewis said, complaining that video footage being shared in the media only focuses on the “bad part.”
He does appear to have learned a valuable lesson, however, indicating that his parents were upset after learning what he had been doing. As for others who might be considering similar behavior for social media likes, he sought to discourage them.
“Before you go out and do anything you feel is bad or that could look bad, make sure, like, people know, or just don’t do it at all,” Lewis advised.
Black teen who punched strangers in a park is upset about the reaction online pic.twitter.com/w8QJase9QA
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) October 29, 2023
In addition to international trends including one that encourages social media users to trespass onto private property, there have been other incidents in which people have been injured in random attacks by individuals competing for views on social media.
Earlier this year, a television news anchor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received an eye injury following such an attack, later declaring: “It was a frightening, disturbing event that was incited by this TikTok challenge.”