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Advocate: homeless 'sleeping in fear' amid escalating violent attacks in Pacific Beach

Advocate: homeless 'sleeping in fear' amid escalating violent attacks in Pacific Beach
Posted at 4:42 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 14:07:09-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Homeless advocates say there is a growing fear on the streets amid a string of violent attacks against the homeless in Pacific Beach.

Six months ago, Eric Thompson, who is homeless, was sleeping behind the O'Reilly Auto Parts store on Garnett Avenue, when we was woken up with pepper spray.

"They maced by eyes. Almost got hit twice by cars because of it," said Thompson.

Thompson says his attackers were five men in a gray Toyota truck with a camper shell. They also threw bottles at him, before driving off.

Then, about a month ago, Thompson went to sleep behind Ralph's on Mission Boulevard. Next to him was homeless advocate Erika English.

"What awoke me was banging of the trash cans," said English.

She says soon after, she saw a gray truck with a camper shell drive off. Thompson suddenly dove to shield her, as the BB pellets flew.

"They bounced off the walls, and they landed right where we were laying ... I heard the BBs and saw the pellets around me," said English.

This incident is just one of many in Pacific Beach involving the young men in the gray truck according to homeless advocate Amie Zamudio. The first cases date back three years.

"It started off with people being spit on, racial slurs," said Zamudio.

Zamudio says the attacks have continued to escalate: sleeping homeless hit with eggs, and then mace, blocks of ice and other objects.

"Urine-and-bleach concoctions being thrown at people. Then we had some people threatened to be set on fire, then when they returned to sleep, it smelled like gas," said Zamudio.

Zamudio believes there have been more than 30 victims, with nearly all of them being too afraid or too distrusting of police to file a report.

The string of attacks has left many unable to sleep.

"I'm afraid every night to go to sleep," said Thompson.

"That anybody has to live like this, it’s not right," said English.

A San Diego police told ABC 10News they are not aware of the incidents and are encouraging any victims to contact them.

Zamudio has started a Gofundme campaign to help the victims obtain housing.