SAN DIEGO - A Marine is fighting for his life in a San Diego hospital after a brutal attack days before he was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan.
Marine Cpl. Jonathan Woodard, 23, was flown to UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest one week ago and remains in the intensive care unit after being stabbed in the neck in El Centro. A hospital spokesperson told 10News that Woodard remains in serious condition.
Woodard, who is known to his friends and family as Jonny, is a native of New York state. He had been stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.
He was supposed to leave for a re-deployment to Afghanistan next Monday. Woodard was first deployed to Afghanistan for nine months in 2011.
An evening out with friends in El Centro that nearly turned deadly has him in San Diego in the hands of medical experts.
A family friend told 10News that Woodard and a fellow Marine were walking to their hotel in El Centro from a fair after giving up on a taxi cab that never showed up. That is when a group of men came out from behind an alley near a night club and attacked him.
According to a newspaper in New York state, Woodard's fellow Marine was able to break up the fight but not before Woodard was stabbed multiple times, including in the neck.
An artery was severed in the attack, which caused Woodard to suffer a stroke.
Through a website set up by Woodard's friends, more than $2,000 has already been raised for his medical bills. In addition, there are messages that offer encouragement and support.
One reads, "Our son was KIA (killed in action) 11-5-11… we'd do anything to help out one of Nicky's brothers."
Another reads, "Stay strong Jonny, keep fighting man."
10News spoke with a family friend who says Woodard's girlfriend and parents remain by his side. He has been able to communicate with them by blinking his eyes.
If you'd like to donate to the fund for Woodard, click here.