San Diego police are on the lookout for a man who ambushed an 80-year-old Vietnam War veteran on a routine morning walk in Bay Park and stabbed him 15 times.
From outside the ambulance early Saturday morning, the victim seemed fully conscious and talking despite his injuries.
“Dogs were barking. I was sleeping. I hear the screams from the man, ‘Help!’ at the top of his lungs,“ witness Denise Growth said.
Groth was startled awake by the shouting. She is the only one who managed to get out of her home on Frankfort Street to see the man struggling.
“I came out here and saw him pop up. He was on the ground. He ran that way,” Groth said.
The victim, despite bleeding from several wounds, ran the four blocks home to call 911. The attacker vanished.
“Very loud, very loud. I mean, as loud as he could. It was weird, so early in the morning. So still,” Groth said.
Police describe the suspect as a 30 to 35-year-old man wearing a dark jacket and pants, carrying a skateboard.
If you want to find skateboarders, look no further than the Tecolote Road Trolley Station. It’s just a few blocks from where the attack took place.
Skateboard wheel scuff marks are all over the sidewalk that runs underneath the Interstate 5 bridge. It spans the trolley center.
Transit security told NBC 7 it’s a popular spot. That skaters come here for the shade all summer. They are warned and told to leave but come back daily. People who live in the area say this is what attracted the suspect to their neighborhood.”
NBC 7 met with the victim Tuesday. He appears well and is healing. He has stitches closing cuts on his face, ear and head. On the advice of investigating officers, he turned down an on-camera interview.
Those who know him say the Army veteran’s morning walks are routine.
“Bobby is out every day walking. He is always walking with the dogs. He’s got a little dog he loves so much,” neighbor Maryanne Keller said.
The violent random attack is weighing heavy on the minds of his neighbors.
“He’s very fortunate, but it’s very scary,” Groth said.
People in the Bay Park neighborhood NBC 7 spoke with say since the Tecolote Road Trolley station opened they’ve seen a larger homeless population in the neighborhood, as well as a significant increase in car break-ins.