Prosecutors: Father, Son Nearly Drowned Pokemon Go Rival

Robert and Angelo Matteuzzi convicted of felony assault following 'ridiculous' brawl
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2022 8:24 AM CDT
Prosecutors: Father, Son Nearly Drowned Pokemon Go Rival
In this July 22, 2016 file photo, a Pokemon Go player attempts to catch a Charmander character in New Delhi, India.   (AP Photo/Thomas Cytrynowicz)

Two men from Missouri have been found guilty of assault after a brawl over Pokemon Go that landed the pair and their victim in a lake, along with some teeth. The popular smartphone game sees rival players do virtual battle with Pokemon characters for control of real-life locations known as "gyms." Robert Matteuzzi, 75, and his 35-year-old son, Angelo Matteuzzi, on one side of a long-running feud over Kirkwood Park outside St. Louis, had sought to claim the location for their team in June 2018 when they began arguing with an opposing player, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Suddenly, the battle became all too real. At a jury trial, the victim testified that Angelo Matteuzzi started punching him, causing both men to fall five feet into a lake. That wasn't the end of it.

According to the victim, Robert Matteuzzi jumped in the lake after them. It was Father's Day after all. A bystander video showed the father and son "repeatedly punching the victim and holding the man down in the water," per the Post-Dispatch. At one point, a voice could be heard saying, "Dad, don't get involved!" However, the father and son teamed up and "smashed the victim's face into rocks lining the lake wall," per KTVI. The bystander eventually succeeded in separating the men. Police then had to use a ladder to get them out of the lake. "Grown men, including a man in his 70s, coming to blows over a childish game they are playing is ridiculous, but there was nothing funny about the injuries sustained by the victim, who could have drowned," said St. Louis County prosecutor Wesley Bell.

The victim suffered a traumatic eye injury, a broken fingertip, and a detached fingernail. He also described "bites on the insides of my palms" to KSDK at the time. He added it was his second physical altercation with the father, who'd attacked him with another relative the previous year. On the stand, Robert Matteuzzi told jurors, "I didn't want to be in the water." Reminded that he'd jumped into the lake, he suggested it was chaos but admitted, "I just wanted to dunk him." Angelo Matteuzzi said he didn't want a fight, during which some of his teeth were knocked out. "I was just trying to put my Pokemon in the gym." Both men were found guilty of felony third-degree assault on Wednesday. The jury recommended three days in jail and a fine for Robert and a fine for his son. (More Pokemon Go stories.)

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