A young man from Houston is getting media attention for a string of violent prank videos he recorded that showed him randomly assaulting strangers in a park.
Alford Lewis, 19, is currently under investigation by the Harris County Sheriff’s Department over videos that made their way onto the social media platform NextDoor. In two separate incidents captured on video, Lewis comes up behind seemingly unsuspecting men at Wortham Park and punches them in the back of the head.
“It was a prank. I had no problem with the man. I wasn’t trying to hurt him. I was hanging out with my friend, and we did a TikTok … and so, yeah, I didn’t mean it, didn’t mean to harm anybody,” Lewis wrote in a text message, according to ABC 13.
Local residents, however, were not amused.
“He’s 19. He’s of age. He knows right from wrong. That’s assault,” Frankie Jimenez told ABC 13.
Before Lewis was identified and subsequently admitted to hitting the men for social media views, the two incidents had spurred concern among parkgoers who use the trails to jog and walk their dogs.
“It’s just ridiculous. Obviously, something is wrong with that person. … We hope he gets the help he needs. Also, spends time in jail for something very dangerous. It could have been much worse than it was,” said Michael Patrick, per ABC 13.
It is currently unclear whether any of Lewis’ alleged victims intend to press charges, but the police investigation is ongoing.
“I really didn’t expect for it to go so left, you know,” Lewis claimed, speaking with KHOU 11. “I know from the video all you see is the bad part about it. But what people don’t see is that I shook his hand after and gave the man a hug.”
The news outlet noted that it was unable to confirm Lewis’ claim about shaking hands with and hugging one of his victims.
In Dallas, assault offenses have been ticking down overall, however, they continue to be naggingly high in the city center. As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Downtown Dallas logs considerably more assault offenses than Fort Worth’s downtown area, the latter of which is patrolled by a dedicated special police unit and private security officers.
The Dallas Police Department has been suffering from a serious staffing shortage for some years now. DPD fields fewer than 3,200 officers at present. A City analysis advises that 4,000 are necessary in order to properly maintain public safety.