Surge in unprovoked attacks against the homeless

Suspects sought in violent beatings

SAN DIEGO - San Diego police are looking for whoever is responsible for the brutal beatings against the homeless over the past few weeks.

The assaults have been occurring in the 5000 block of Newport Avenue in the Ocean Beach area and the Midway District in the Sports Arena area.

"I've been jumped four times in three months," explained one man who did not want to be identified.

He still had fresh scabs on his face after he was attacked Monday morning.

"I got jumped by five guys," he said. "I got smashed in the face with a 12-pack of beer bottles."

In many cases, the suspects worked together in groups of four to five men. Their targets have been lone victims who are sleeping or digging through trash looking for food.

San Diego police Lt. Brian Goldberg says there have been 10 attacks in the past month: four in the Ocean Beach area and six in the Midway District.

The reason behind the violence? 

"There is no monetary loss. No property taken. It's like a hit and run where they will assault their victim, and they are just gone," explained Goldberg. "Most of them are when the person is sleeping, and the next thing you know, they are being assaulted while they are sleeping. Two or three of them were what we call 'canning' ... looking through trash bins, striking them with an impact weapon."

Victims told 10News they have been hit by skateboards and bats and even beer bottles have been used as weapons in the assaults.

"A kid came up to me, whacked me with a skateboard and just kept going," explained one homeless man who identified himself as Scottie. "Another guy blindsided me. I didn't even see him coming. I was in the trauma unit for four days. It took two days to get my nose to stop bleeding."

Police say they are asking businesses for surveillance videos of the suspects, but so far, they have no clear picture of the assailants.

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