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New Jersey Man Faces Attempted Murder Charges After Online Dispute Leads to Real-Life Attack

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – An online altercation escalated into a severe criminal act when a New Jersey man flew to Florida, broke into an acquaintance’s home, and attacked him with a hammer during the early hours of the morning. The suspect, Edward Kang, 20, now faces attempted murder charges.

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper described the incident during a press conference, emphasizing its bizarre nature. “Some things make you say hmmm. Some things you just can’t make up. There are some things that make you say, ‘What in the world was he thinking?’ 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,” Sheriff Leeper stated.

According to Sheriff Leeper, Kang departed from Newark, New Jersey, and arrived in Jacksonville, Florida, late Friday night. He then took an Uber to a hotel in Fernandina Beach, checking in around 2 a.m. on Saturday.

Kang visited a local hardware store, where he purchased a hammer and a flashlight. At approximately 2 a.m. on Sunday, he entered the home of a gamer he had met online through an unlocked door, unbeknownst to the victim.

“The victim was playing video games late Saturday night into Sunday morning and took a break to go to the bathroom,” Leeper recounted. “When he opened the door, he noticed the suspect standing with a hammer raised in the air in an anticipated strike position. The suspect was wearing all black, gloves, and a mask.”

A struggle ensued between the suspect and the victim. During the altercation, the victim’s stepfather was awakened by the commotion. He rushed to the scene, and together, they disarmed Kang and restrained him until deputies arrived.

“He broke into the victim’s home late at night to, what we believe, kill the victim,” Leeper said.

Both Kang and the victim were taken to a local hospital for medical treatment. Once Kang was treated and released, he was taken into custody.

Hammer used in Jacksonville Florida assault assault

When questioned about his motive, Kang responded, “He is a bad person online.” Sheriff Leeper noted that Kang is not cooperating with investigators and has requested legal counsel. However, Kang did ask a deputy, “How much time do you get for breaking and entering and assault?”

“I would say, Mr. Kang, it’s going to be a long time before you play video games again,” Leeper commented.

Sheriff Leeper mentioned that the exact nature of the online dispute between Kang and the victim remains unclear. The pair, who had never met in person before the incident, had some form of an altercation while playing an online video game. The sheriff speculated that the game’s competitive nature, which allows players to name and battle characters, might have contributed to the conflict.

The victim, whose age is approximately the same as Kang’s, suffered non-life-threatening head injuries and has been released from the hospital. Kang has been charged with second-degree murder, though additional charges may be forthcoming.

This case underscores the potential dangers of online interactions escalating into real-world violence, highlighting the need for caution and awareness in virtual engagements.

 

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Patrick Zarrelli

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