We're sorry to break it to you, folks: The story about a 93-year-old gun-toting grandmother who shot her knockout-game assailant in the head isn't real.
As the rest of the country joins St. Louis in its shock over the violent game designed to hurt random bystanders, wannabe writers are taking advantage of the national mania, penning elaborate fake news stories that readers share online as fact.
One of these The Onion-esque stories is set in St. Louis, titled "'Knockout' Thug Loses Game Permanently to Granny's Big Gun." A grandmother named Gladis Bennett shares her knockout nightmare:
I was waiting at the bus stop and suddenly felt this sharp pain to the left side of my body. The blunt force was so strong that it knocked me down. When I looked up, I could see a group of thugs laughing at me. Then one of them started kicking me. So before they had a chance to do more harm, I reached into my purse, pulled out my gun and shot the main aggressor. Luckily they all ran after that. I was terrified. I thought they were going to kill me.
A terrifying story...if it were real. The bit of satire was originally posted on National Report, a fake news site that publishes outrageous stories like this gem: "New CDC Study Indicates Pets of Gay Couples Worse at Sports, Better at Fashion Than Pets of Straight Couples."
In the story, a phony St. Louis police detective named Paul Horner asks how many black youth have to die before "it clicks in their tiny little brains not to do this stupid shit anymore." FOX 2 reported that the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has no employees by that name.
A little Internet sleuthing shows the real Paul Horner is the story's author: a young, North Carolina-based comedian who spends his free time telling people there's jizz on their grocery carts:
And this isn't his only knockout game fake news story.
A video from a Las Vegas mall of a couple beating up another man went viral this week when similarly fake news stories said the man was trying to play the knockout game. Las Vegas police said the people fighting knew each other, and the case is not being investigated as a random attack, according to conservative news site The Blaze.
St. Louis' latest knockout-game claim turned out to be false, but not for comedy's sake. After hitting his girlfriend in the face, 25-year-old Justin Simms of Arnold told her family and the police she'd been punched by a random person outside a south-city bar.
Simms and his girlfriend were both charged with filing false police reports.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.