Great Frederick Fair attack (killing of John Weed)

Great Frederick Fair attack (killing of John Weed)
Great Frederick Fair spitting.jpg
John Weed's assailants spitting on him after they fatally sucker punched him
LocationFrederick Fairgrounds, 797 E Patrick St, Frederick, MD 21701
Coordinates39°24′46″N 77°23′43″W / 39.412830°N 77.395320°W / 39.412830; -77.395320
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DateSeptember 20, 2019
Attack type
VictimJohn Weed, 59-year-old white male
AssailantsUnnamed black teenage males
John Weed
John Weed.jpg
Born(1959-11-03)November 3, 1959
DiedSeptember 21, 2019(2019-09-21) (aged 59)
Cause of deathHead injury

The Great Frederick Fair attack occurred when a group of black teenage males sucker punched and killed 59-year-old white male John Weed without any provocation, and spat on his body.


On September 20, 2019, John Weed went to the Great Frederick County Fair in Frederick, Maryland with his sister, his nieces, their loves ones and his great niece and nephew.[1] At about 5:30PM,[1] two black teen brothers, a 16-year-old and a 15-year-old, asked Weed for a dollar. Weed refused the request, and some "negative" dialogue between the two parties ensued.[2]

The 16-year-old then punched Weed in the back of the head. Several minutes later while Weed was distracted by the 16-year-old, the 15-year-old got a running start[3] and punched Weed from behind in the head. Weed lost consciousness immediately, and the 16-year-old then immediately ran up to his body and spat on it times.

Weed was transported by air to R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. He never regained consciousness and died of his injuries the next day.[4]

Bystanders recorded video of the attack:


"He gave so much love to his young niece and nephew," Weed's sister Lori Hawkins said, describing all-terrain vehicles rides, playing in the pool and reading bedtime stories together.[5]

Every day after school, Weed's 5-year-old nephew asked where his "Uncle Jay" was. Weed "would always have a project" for his "little helper," Hawkins said.[5]

Weed and his sister had recently moved their parents and other family members to Frederick County, with the dream of living all together, she said. He handled "all the day-to-day responsibilities of caring for us." [5]

Weed's family set up a GoFundMe to help pay for expenses.[1] As of September 7, 2020 it had raised $22,599.


According to one news source, the teens may have been playing the "knockout game:"

"Since the judge made the decision to keep him in the juvenile system, that means the judge and juvenile services will focus on his rehabilitation, not punishment like the adult system," State's Attorney Charlie Smith said.[6]

Despite initial comments on social media that Weed may have used a racial slur prior to the incident, the state's attorney's office said none of the witnesses, no one in Weed's family and neither of the teens said anything about the incident being motivated by race.[7]

Sheriff interviews[edit]

Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins was nearby when the attack occurred. He said he was about 100 yards away when fair attendees told him the assault occurred.[2]

"I just took off running down the midway," Jenkins said. "I knew he was severely injured ... There was blood."[2]

In interviews, the sheriff was of the opinion that the attack was a hate crime,[8] though he noted it might not match the legal definition of a hate crime, and that the dollar bill question didn't make sense.[2]

"What those young men did to this man was just vile. It was desecrating him as a person, demeaning to him, and demeaning to his family," he said. "I view that as real hatred, regardless of race, ethnicity, whatever."[2]

"Logic says they didn’t attack this man for a single dollar. There was some other motivation. What was that motivation? And only they can answer that," Jenkins said. "I know that what I’ve said is very controversial, but I believe something else motivated this."[2]