One moment, Kyle Rogers was leaving a bar in Manhattan early Sunday morning to go meet up with some friends. The next thing he remembers is waking up in the back of an ambulance with an EMT over him.
The 23-year-old Rockville Centre resident was the apparent victim of the “knockout game” -- when young men sucker-punch victims on the street, trying to knock them unconscious. Not only was Rogers knocked out cold, but his jaw was also broken in two places.
“I remember being in a lot of pain and not knowing,” Rogers said. “That was the scariest part -- not knowing what happened.”
Rogers’s memory of the incident was nonexistent, and no one was witness to the attack. It was through the work of his family that they all learned what really happened. Rogers was attacked early in the morning of March 2, around 2:30 a.m.
His twin brother, Michael, went online and found pictures of the area where police said the ambulance was dispatched to. It was right in front of the Bowery Mission in downtown Manhattan. And in pictures of the building, Michael saw two security cameras.
“We were trying to put the pieces together of what happened,” said Rogers’s father, Mike. “We thought he just fell. As a parent, I figured he drank too much and he fell. But his friends were swearing up and down that he was OK.”
Mike called his friend, Frankie, a retired NYPD officer, for help. He told Frankie about the cameras on the side of the building, and the two went into the city the next day to the Bowery Mission. There, they spoke to the assistant director, Matt, who worked hard to get the the footage from that night.
The building’s security cameras caught the attack. In the grainy video, you can see Rogers walking down the street as a man -- his face indistinguishable in the glare from nearby lights -- walk up behind him and punch Rogers in the face, sending him falling to the ground.
“We played [the video] and saw the attack,” Rogers’s father said. “It was devastating to watch that.” They brought the video to detectives at the Fifth Precinct, who are investigating the incident.
Rogers received stitches above his right eye from where he hit the pavement when he fell, as well as stitches under his chin from where he was punched. Doctors had to wire his jaw shut to make sure the bones set properly, which means Rogers is forced to drink nutritional milkshakes for the next six to eight weeks.
“It sucks,” Rogers said. “It’s not even that it’s painful, it’s just annoying. Every time you have something frozen, it’s cold on your teeth. But luckily, I chipped my tooth in the accident, so I can use that for suction.”
As for the attacker, police are still looking for him. The detective in charge of the case has kept in contact with Rogers. “I’m just hoping they get these kids off the street and under control,” he said. “I’d love to see this kid serve time so he understands what he’s done.
“I really want to help prevent this from happening in the future,” he added.