Pastor recovering after he was attacked and stabbed outside Long Beach home

Friends of Pastor Ivan Pitts say he was stabbed several times in the eye, back and neck area outside his Long Beach home.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Pastor Ivan Pitts at Second Baptist Church in Santa Ana is recovering after police say he was brutally attacked and stabbed Thursday morning outside his home in Long Beach.

Pastor Ralph Williamson at Christ Our Redeemer AME Church in Irvine says he and Pitts are in a coalition of pastors that were scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Williamson said when Pitts didn't respond to his calls and texts, he became concerned and continued to reach out.

"We received a long text message stating what had happened, that Pastor Pitts has been attacked in his own driveway following his return home and he was stabbed several times. It devastated us," said Williamson.

Kelita Gardner is the executive director of operations at Second Baptiste Church. She says Pastor Pitts has been the senior pastor there for more than 10 years.

She says Pitts was in his driveway when a man came up to him.

"He approached the pastor and asked him if he could ask a question and when he acknowledged him, he stabbed him seven times. Twice in the eye, four times in the back and once in the neck, shoulder area," said Gardener.

Gardner says Pitts ran to a construction site nearby to get help from workers. They got a picture of the man's license plate.

Long Beach police say the suspect's car was found by Huntington Beach police. Officers arrested the suspect and determined he was the person related to the Long Beach attack.

The suspect is in the hospital getting medical treatment but police say he will be arrested and booked when he is released for attempted murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and felony vandalism.

Pastors, church members, and communities all over Southern California are devastated at this news but happy Pitts is recovering.

"I understand he is in the hospital. We text and we had conversations through text. He said he's going to be alright," Williamson said.

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