SAN DIEGO -- A homeless man claims he survived a vicious attack by suspected serial killer Jon Guerrero.
Phillip Petrina says he was asleep in a canyon just off 3rd Avenue in Hillcrest on the morning of July 7 when he woke up to a man smashing his hand with a rock.
"I slugged him in the throat right here, and he picked up a rock and hit me in the side of the head right here and it about knocked me out and I fell back and hit another rock."
Petrina is recovering at a rehab center. He said the attack left him with a crushed eye socket, fractured hand, broken jaw and other injuries.
"All I remember is a kid throwing a rock on my hand,” said Petrina, who struggled with the man. “I mean, that's how I woke up, in pain."
He said his attacker took off on a bike. At the time, Petrina was unaware of the slew of brutal homeless attacks between July 3-6 that left three men dead and a fourth brutally injured. On July 15, a 55-year-old homeless man was found badly beaten in Golden Hill. Guerro was arrested that same morning.
Petrina says he learned about the arrest of Guerrero on the news while he was in the hospital. He insists Guerrero is the man who beat him.
"That's the guy, that's the guy, 101 percent for sure. I knew right away, just by the hat, and the clothes and the big nose. You don't forget something like that.”
San Diego Police confirm they're investigating the possibility Guerrero is responsible for attacking Petrina. They say, at this time, it's unknown how many attacks might be tied to the accused serial killer.
Not everyone thinks there is a connection. A couple of transients who also sleep in the same canyon believe Petrina was beat up by his drug dealer.
Guerrero will be arraigned on Tuesday.