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

A 20-year-old New Jersey man has been arrested after allegedly flying to Florida to attack a fellow gamer with a hammer following an “online altercation” that occurred after they met on the virtual fantasy world of ArcheAge, police said.

Edward Kang is now charged with attempted second-degree murder following an assault in Fernandina Beach early Sunday morning that left the victim with a serious but non-life-threatening head injury, according to Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper.

“I want people to know that this is a bizarre case,” Leeper said at a news conference. “Some cases make you say, ‘Huh?’ Some cases are completely unimaginable. Some cases make you say, ‘What were they thinking?’ And some cases make you say, ‘I can’t believe it.’ This case makes me say all four.”

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

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Edward Kang's mugshot

Edward Kang is currently facing a charge of attempted second-degree murder for an alleged assault in Fernandina Beach, Florida. (Nassau County Sheriff’s Office)

“This video game allows you to name characters, fight and kill other characters. We don’t know what happened between the victim and suspect, but something motivated the suspect to come to Florida and hurt the other person,” Leeper said.

According to the sheriff’s office, deputies were first called to a Fernandina Beach home early Sunday morning in response to a physical confrontation and “upon arrival, they found a large amount of blood in the entryway of the residence and in the victim’s bedroom.”

Police said the victim’s father-in-law reported being woken up in the middle of the night by cries for help and went to investigate, finding his son-in-law on the ground and struggling with Kang.

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Weapon allegedly used in Florida attack

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said Kang used a hammer in the attack. (Nassau County Sheriff’s Office)

Leeper said Kang, wearing all black clothing, gloves and a mask, entered the unlocked home and ambushed the victim in a hallway while he was taking a bathroom break during a late-night game.

The investigation revealed that a few days earlier, Kang had flown on a Delta Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Jacksonville, Florida, where he had bought a hammer and a flashlight at a hardware store. Leeper said investigators found the receipts in Kang’s Fernandina Beach hotel room. Kang had told his family he was heading to Florida to visit a friend his age who he’d met playing an online video game several years ago.

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper described the incident as “bizarre.” (Nassau County Sheriff’s Office)

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“When asked why he did this, the suspect responded that he was a bad person online and that he was talking down to the victim,” Leeper said. “The suspect further asked the deputy how much time he would face for trespassing and assault, ‘Mr. Kang, it’s going to be a long time before you play video games again.’