San Diego

Man Found Set on Fire in Series of Homeless Attacks Dies, Bringing Death Toll to 3: PD

A hospitalized man found attacked and set on fire has died, bringing the death toll in a series of attacks on San Diego's homeless population to three, San Diego police announced Sunday. 

The victim, identified as Dionicio Derek Vahidy, 23, of San Diego, was found on the 700 block of Kettner Boulevard when police responded to a violence disturbance call at an apartment complex on Wednesday. 

When officers arrived, they found the victim, later identified as Vahidy, with extensive damage to his upper body. 

Police determined Vahidy had been physically attacked and set on fire. 

He was not expected to survive his injuries. He was taken to the hospital after the attack, but was pronounced dead on Sunday just before 1 p.m. 

A man who lives near the park where Vahidy used to sleep said he didn't look homeless to him. 

"We always wondered 'why are you here?' He was just too young to be out on the street," he said.

Marina Park resident Denise Johnson said Vahidy was a 'nice boy' she had spoken to several times. 

"Not a typical homeless," she told NBC 7. "He was very, very clean, he was very sweet, and he was a God fearing man." 

Marina Park resident Kathy Krainock wrote a note with Vahidy's name on it, and left it at the spot where he was attacked.

"You know someone might be homeless, but they're someone's child, they're someone's brother, they're someone's cousin," Krainock said.

Vahidy's death brings the death toll to three. Investigators said they believe the death was related to a series of attacks on homeless men that occured between July 3 and July 4. Two others have died and a third is in grave condition. 

Read more about the attacks here.

On Thursday, SDPD Homicide Division Capt. David Nisleit announced that authorities had arrested Anthony Padgett on allegations of murder and attempted murder in a series of violent killings against homeless San Diegans.

Four days later, on Monday July 11, homicide investigators announced Padgett had been released from custody because officials said they have examined the evidence in the case and found reason to exclude Padgett as a suspect.

No motive has been assigned to the attacks.

Anyone with information related to this incident is encouraged to call the San Diego Police Department’s Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

No other information was immediately available.

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