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Santa Ana man attacked after confronting taggers

July 14, 2009 | 12:24 pm

A Santa Ana man was beaten and stabbed early this morning after confronting taggers defacing a wall in his neighborhood, police said.

The 38-year-old was walking near the intersection of McFadden and Orange avenues just after 2 a.m. when he saw a group of three young men painting graffiti on a wall, said Santa Ana Police Cmdr. Tammy Franks. The man told them to stop.

After pausing, the three men, joined by two others, surrounded the man and began hitting, kicking and stabbing him in the torso. The man, whose name was not released, was taken to the hospital and is recovering from injuries that are not life-threatening.

Police have no suspects, but are investigating the attack as a gang crime.

The stabbing is the latest instance of a person in Southern California being attacked after catching taggers vandalizing property, including three who were killed in the last two years.

In August 2007, Pico Rivera grandmother Maria Hicks was shot dead after she honked her car horn, flashed her lights and followed a tagger who had defaced a wall.

Ten days after Hicks' death, Seutatia Tausili, 65, was shot and killed in Hesperia after she and her family questioned taggers spray-painting trash cans and the wall of their apartment building.

In December, Jose Jorge Perez was fatally shot after he and a friend tried to stop a group of taggers in Hollywood.

Some cities, including Montebello and Los Angeles, have installed video equipment to catch taggers in the act without human intervention. Authorities advise keeping a safe distance.

“We would obviously recommend that people just be good witnesses and try to report it,” Franks said. “Confronting people is definitely dangerous, as this shows.”

-- Tony Barboza