Man viciously attacked with hammer at North Park auto shop

Victim may lose eye, but not his life
Posted at 8:22 AM, Jan 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-16 21:17:17-05

San Diego Police are looking for a man who viciously attacked an employee at a North Park auto repair shop Sunday night. 

Police say the attacker struck Henry Rader in the head with a hammer at least 13 times, in an apparently unprovoked attack. Rader suffered critical injuries.  

The victim's older brother, Rich Rader, said the attack shattered nearly every bone in Rader's face, crushed his skull and knocked his teeth out. There is also a chance that he will lose one of his eyes. 

A surveillance camera at Jack's Muffler Service on University Avenue near Mississippi Street recorded images of the suspect as he approached Rader, who was eating alone in the service bay around 8:10 p.m. Sunday. The suspect is seen pulling out a hammer and hitting Rader in the head seven times, San Diego police Officer John Buttle said.

After the victim fell to the floor, the suspect looked around the business office, but didn't take anything. He then headed back to the bay and proceeded to hit the victim in the head with the hammer six more times while he was on the ground, Buttle said.

The suspect "calmly" exited the bay, put the hammer in his backpack and walked away on westbound University Avenue, according to the officer.

A passerby spotted the injured victim and called 911 shortly after 8:30 p.m. Paramedics summoned to the bloody crime scene found the victim and took him to a hospital to be treated for numerous injuries, including bleeding on his brain, skull and facial fractures, multiple lacerations and missing teeth.

Buttle said the victim has been placed on a ventilator and may lose an eye, but doctors did not consider his injuries to be life-threatening.

"He's the best guy ever,” Rader's brother, Rich, said. “He'd give you the shirt off his back if he came down here and you needed it."

Now, the family is asking for the public’s help to stop the attacker before he strikes again.

"He'll do this to someone else too,” Rich explained. “He's out there still."

Police described the assailant as white and 30 to 40 years old with thinning, very short blond hair. He was wearing a black jacket, blue jeans and was carrying a black backpack. What prompted the attack was not immediately determined.