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Boy accidentally hangs self in 'choking game'

April 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
It is a very dangerous game, and now a 12-year-old Santa Monica boy has paid the ultimate price. Police say he died playing "the choking game."Twelve-year-old Erik Robinson was a 6th-grader at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica. Police say on the evening of April 20, authorities received a 911 call from his home.

Robinson had hanged himself using a rope in his kitchen and had gone into cardiac arrest. He was taken to the hospital and was taken off life support the next day.

"Choking game is an activity that could be multiple participants, or an individual, where they asphyxiate each other or asphyxiate themselves and will cut off the blood flow to the brain, causing some euphoric sensation," said Santa Monica Police Sgt. Jay Trisler.

The game has led to other deaths in the past.

In 2005 a 14-year-old Northern California boy died while playing the game with his brother, and in October that year a 14-year-old girl from Tarzana passed away as well.

At Lincoln Middle School, officials are planning to address the issue with parents and students soon.

"It's scary that there's games like this out there that we don't know anything about," said parent Austin Music. "And the fact that it was labeled as an accident and now I'm finding out the truth of the specifics, it's just terrifying."

"The type of children that do this are very high-achieving, academic, athletic children, and I think parents just need to be aware of it," said parent Sandi Leong.

Student Alia Mourali says students at the school are familiar with the choking game.

"We were thinking about the choking game and now since we kind of know for sure, we're talking about why he did it," said Mourali. "It was a bad decision."

Police believe Robinson was playing this game by himself that evening, and are planning an outreach effort in the community.

"It's devastating. I'm sorry for the parents. It's just a loss, a sad, sad loss," said Leila Khajehnouri, a parent.

Robinson's family plans to hold a memorial in Santa Monica Thursday night.


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