- Video: Man stabbed, beaten by group of taggers
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"He yelled at them and made some type of comment to try to stop them from what they were doing. They did momentarily, but then they circled around," said Santa Ana Police Commander Tammy Franks.
The attack happened just after 2 a.m. as the victim was walking on McFadden Avenue near Maple Street.
"They started kicking him, punching him and he was stabbed several times in the abdomen," adds Commander Franks.
Police allege five male suspects in their late teens, possibly riding bicycles, left the victim in the street. He's now recovering in the hospital.
"I think it's terrible. He was just trying to do something that all of us have been trying to do, which is take care of the city," said Patty Huanosto, a resident.
Residents say tagging is a common sight in the neighborhood.
"It happens a lot around here in Santa Ana. It's a pretty bad area. It's not really a surprise," said Sergio Ramirez, a resident.
At least one other resident who says he's tried to stop taggers in the past may think twice next time after this latest attack.
"It bothers me a lot. I'm grateful it wasn't me, but at the same time I feel sorry for that guy because it shouldn't happen," said Angel Romero, a resident.
Police hope to re-interview the victim to get better descriptions of the taggers. They were wearing dark baggy clothing. Police are discouraging people from trying to stop them on their own.
"If somebody does witness something like this they should call police and try to give the best description possible because we really don't want anyone getting injured like this," said Commander Franks.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Santa Ana Police Department at (714) 245-8648.