Homeless Community on Edge Following 4th Attack on a Victim Living on the Street

The series of attacks on the homeless community began on Sunday.

Some people in San Diego's homeless community are arming themselves as others get off the streets after a fourth man was found beaten and then set on fire Wednesday morning.

The 23-year-old man was attacked while sleeping in a highly populated ares in Downtown San Diego, according to the San Diego Police Department (SDPD).

While investigators are working around the clock to get the suspect off the street, the homeless community is doing what they can to survive until he's caught.

The series of attacks on the homeless community began on Sunday. 

Angelo De Nardo, 53, was killed and then set on fire on Morena Boulevard in Bay Park, homicide investigators said.

Shawn Longley, 41, was found by police Monday morning on Bacon Street in Ocean Beach. He had suffered blunt force trauma to his upper body and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Manuel Mason, 61, was attacked about an hour earlier on Monday in San Diego's Midway District. He was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. San Diego Police identified him along with the other victims in the series during a Wednesday news conference.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined SDPD to urge the public to come forward with any information and said they were offering services to the homeless community to keep them safe.

But Manuel Ruiz says he and many others aren't waiting for police protection and that they're arming themselves.

“With pepper spray, rocks in a socks---locks if you can find them but mostly rocks, red lasers and big sticks,” Ruiz said.

Enhanced photographs of the suspect in a series of four attacks were hand billed to the homeless near St. Vincent DePaul Shelter.

Shelter residents say more people than ever are trying to find a space to sleep there.

“It's dangerous outside. You get beat up or killed. They're scared so they want to get in there,” homeless San Diegan Suzy said.

An intake clerk at the San Diego Rescue Mission told NBC 7 that fear on the street doubled the amount of people trying to enroll on Monday.

As of Wednesday, the suspects remains outstanding.

Police said they don't have the suspect's name but the man was recorded on a gas station security camera, buying suplies to light a fire.

“I truly believe, and I can't stress this enough, that it’s just a matter of getting this photograph in front of the right person,” SDPD Captain David Nieslit said.

Investigators may have the beginning of a personality profile for the suspect from the store clerk who said he sold him supplies for a fire. The clerk, who wishes only to be identified as Elliott , told NBC 7,  the man bought a fuel can, gas, lighter and pack of gum.

“He kind of interrupted me---'can I get a lighter too,’ I said yeah sure then he interrupted me again and asked ‘can I get a gum’. So he was kind of nervous and fast talker,” Elliott said.

Elliot says the man also constantly tapped his right hand as he shopped the convenience store.

“We're getting a lot of investigative leads. We're following up on all those leads,” Nisleit said.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the capture of the attacker was a top priority and pledge to commit the resources necessary.

He said that also included an increase in the reward for information.

For now, Crime Stoppers is offering $1000 for information leading to the suspect's capture.

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