SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Police are searching for the man who viciously attacked a homeless man sitting in San Francisco's Tenderloin on Wednesday night, an assault captured by security cameras.
People living in the Tenderloin found relief that the homeless man known only as Robert survived the attack. Video shows a stranger in a bright colored shirt pulling out a pipe, smashing Robert's skull with such force, Robert fell off his stool.
"He hit him so hard that the pipe literally fell out of his hand," Officer Carlos Manfredi of the San Francisco Police Department told KPIX 5.
The attack was caught on surveillance video outside the Gangway Bar. Owner Jung Lee cleaned up Robert's blood.
"I let him use my restroom, I treated him…give him a couple of bucks when he asked me and I gave him a drink," Lee said.
The Tenderloin, known for tough talk and tougher characters, nobody had a bad word to say about Robert.
"He's a good guy. He's homeless, but he doesn't start trouble," said Tenderloin resident Cheryl Anderson.
Manfredi, who used to be a Tenderloin beat officer, agrees.
"He always had a smile on his face. No matter how bad the situation, or no matter how bad the weather is, or how hungry he could've been," Manfredi recalled.
A Tenderloin building manager named Michael, who occasionally shooed Robert off his steps, visited him at San Francisco General Thursday night and was relieved to see him up and talking after the attack.
"They asked if they caught the guy, and I couldn't tell him that," Michael said.
Cameras captured the suspect casing Robert a few times before he swung, leading officers to believe the attack was premeditated.
Detectives are hopeful because there are so many cameras in this neighborhood that more video may have picked up the suspect walking around before or after the attack. They hope that will get more eyes on their suspect and bring him to justice.
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