New Jersey man flew to Florida to attack fellow gamer with hammer over online dispute

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A 20-year-old New Jersey man has been arrested for allegedly flying to Florida to attack a fellow gamer with a hammer following an “online altercation” that the pair had gotten into after meeting in the virtual fantasy world of ArcheAge, police say.

Edward Kang is now facing an attempted second-degree murder charge after the assault that unfolded in Fernandina Beach, which left the victim with severe but non-life-threatening head injuries, according to Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper.

I just want to let you know that this is a weird one,” Leeper said during a press conference. “Some things make you say ‘hmm’. Some things you just can’t make up. There are some things that make you say ‘what in the world was he thinking’? And there are some things that make you say ‘you’re not going to believe this.’ Well, this case makes you say all four of those.”

Leeper said Kang and the victim had never met in person but were “acquainted through an online video game called ArcheAge,” which he described as a “fantasy-based, massively multiplayer online game, or an MMO, where players interact in an immersive, virtual world, similar to World of Warcraft.”

This video game is something where you can name characters, you can fight other characters and kill them – I don’t know what transpired between the victim and the suspect, but something made the suspect want to come down to Florida and injure that other individual,” Leeper said.

The sheriff said his deputies were first called to a home in Fernandina Beach early Sunday to respond to a physical altercation and “upon arrival, they discovered a significant amount of blood in the entryway of the home and in the victim’s bedroom.”

Police say the victim’s stepfather reported being awoken in the middle of the night by screams for help, and he went to investigate, he allegedly found his stepson on the ground in a physical struggle with Kang.

Leeper says Kang – who was wearing all black clothing, gloves and a mask – entered the unlocked home and waited in a hallway to attack the victim when he took a bathroom break during a late-night gaming session.

An investigation revealed that days earlier, Kang took a Delta flight from Newark, New Jersey to Jacksonville, Florida, before purchasing a hammer and flashlight at a hardware store – which deputies found receipts for in the hotel room that Kang had been staying at in Fernandina Beach, according to Leeper. Kang reportedly told his family he was heading to Florida to visit a friend of around the same age that he had met years ago on an online video game.

When the suspect was asked why he did what he did, the suspect stated that he is a bad person online, talking about the victim,” Leeper said. “In addition, the suspect asked our deputy how much time in jail do you get for breaking and entering and assault? And I would say Mr. Kang, it’s going to be a long time before you play video games again.”

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