John Stephen Wood, 46, was allegedly beaten with a bat and stabbed six times

By Tara Fowler
Updated February 03, 2015 03:00 PM
Credit: Getty

Police are seeking five male teens suspected of brutally beating a homeless man in Ventura, California.

John Stephen Wood was attacked on Sunday evening without provocation after loaning one of the teens a lighter, according to a news release from the Ventura Police Department.

Authorities say the suspects hit Wood, 46, with a bat. As he tried to escape, the suspects ran him down and stabbed him six times.

Wood was taken to the hospital, where he underwent surgery. He is expected to survive.

“What happened to him was terrible. He didn’t deserve that,” friend Russell Lamb told KTLA.

Police are still hunting for the suspects, who are described as Hispanic males between the ages of 15 and 17.

On Jan. 17, another homeless man was set on fire just three miles from where the attack on Wood occurred. That man is also expected to survive, but the two incidents have put Ventura residents on edge.

“We’re just horrified that there’s violence like this in our community,” Rabbi Lisa Hochberg-Miller with Temple Beth Torah told KTLA. “Two incidents in two weeks is just absolutely heartbreaking.”

Despite the similar nature of the attacks, authorities told MyFoxLA they do not believe someone is targeting homeless people in the area.