Men claim tire iron attack over ‘Pokémon Go’

Posted at 7:54 PM, Mar 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-19 19:54:16-04

VANCOUVER, WA (KATU/CNN) – A fight over “Pokémon Go” turned dangerous recently.

Andrew Otton and his friend Grayson Hagstrom were playing the game in a public park when they said an enraged man approached them, brandishing a tire iron.

"He comes out of nowhere, yelling, 'Which one of you is Andy?', with a tire iron in his hand," Hagstrom said.

“Andy” is part of Otton’s username. Admittedly, he sort of started the whole thing.

"My user name is 'Andy Samberg,' so he was looking for the Andy guy, and I was just reviving my Pokémon when he was trying to take it out," Otton said.

The man was angry over a “gym,” the virtual arenas of “Pokemon Go” where players battle for dominance.

"I took it from him, and I didn't know he just took it, and he was like, 'Hey, did you just take this gym from me? That's pretty messed up, man,’ like, very angrily saying it," Otton said.

That’s when the park became its own battlefield for Otton and Hagstrom.

"I was like, ‘Oh no, my buddy’s going to get hit by a tire iron. I've got to do something,’” Hagstrom said. “And I'm like, ‘(expletive-deleted), I'm going to get hit by a tire iron.’ So, I was just preparing, ‘This is going to hurt a little bit,’ but thankfully he only punched me a few times."

Hagstrom said he then went on the offensive.

“I got behind him and started choking him,” Hagstrom said. “I figured if he didn't have consciousness he wouldn't be that tough.”

Stephen Jolly, the man accused of going after the players, is charged with assault and malicious mischief.

Court records said Jolly admits to hitting a table in the park, but not to attacking Otton and Hagstrom.

But the friends said they’re not the only ones who have run into Jolly.

"We posted about it on Facebook and showed his license plate, and other people have told us he's been doing this before – and we were just the first to stop him," Hagstrom.

Otton reflected on the surreal nature of the encounter.

“It was just kind of weird,” Otton said. “We didn't expect him to get out of his car and try to hit us.”

Hagstrom agreed.

“Yeah, (to) get so mad over a game. It was just stupid,” Hagstrom said.

Copyright 2018 KATU via CNN. All rights reserved.