A Pokémon Go player in Washington state allegedly attacked three other players over the loss of a gym, according to Vancouver, Washington news station KATU.
The suspect, Stephen Jolly, is accused of assaulting other Pokémon Go players with a tire iron in hand.
“He comes out of nowhere, yelling, ‘Which one of you is Andy?’ with a tire iron in his hand,” the victim, Andrew Otton, told KATU. “My username is AndySamberg, so he was looking for the Andy guy and I was just reviving my Pokémon when he was trying to take it out. I took it from him and I didn’t know he just took it, and he was like, ‘Hey, did you just take this gym from me? That’s pretty messed up, man.'”
Otton added that Jolly was “very” angry. Otton’s friend, Grayson Hagstrom, was reportedly punched “several times” by Jolly, according to KATU.
“I got behind him and started choking him,” Hagstrom told KATU. “I figured if he didn’t have consciousness, he wouldn’t be that tough.”
KATU reported that court documents suggest Jolly admitted to “hitting a table with a tire iron,” but denied punching the other Pokémon Go players.
But Otton and Hagstrom alleged that this isn’t Jolly’s first Pokémon Go attack.
“We posted about it on Facebook and showed his license plate,” Hagstrom said. “Other people told us he’s done this before and we were just the first to stop him.”
Jolly is facing assault and malicious mischief charges. He’ll appear in court this week, according to arrest records.
Pokémon Go launched on July 2016, and has made national news multiple times when players have encountered violence. The Washington case over the weekend may be the first incident where violence has been sparked by in-game activities, but not the first case where Pokémon Go players were attacked. Multiple Pokémon Go players have been assaulted and robbed while playing the game.
A 20-year-old man playing Pokémon Go near Fisherman’s Wharf was shot and killed while playing the game in August 2016. In January 2016, a 60-year-old man in Virginia was also shot and killed while playing the mobile title.
Players hunting for Pokémon in a San Diego park stumbled upon a dead body in July 2016. Two other dead bodies were found by players within two weeks of Pokémon Go’s release—one in Wyoming and another in New Hampshire.