SAN DIEGO — Ocean Beach is known for its laid-back vibe, but people have said it's become more sinister.
Starbucks just announced the closure of its Ocean Beach location on December 12th, citing safety concerns.
CBS 8 went to Ocean Beach to check out the scene, and everyone wanted to talk to us about the homeless situation and the crime.
That's when we discovered a man was attacked and beaten across the street from Starbucks, outside the popular burger restaurant 'Hodad's.'
Hodad's owner, Shane Hardin, gave us this surveillance video:
Security video captured Woody Boethel, in the red coat, being violently attacked, punched, and kicked.
Boethel said he was leaving "The Joint Sushi" in Ocean Beach when a group of homeless guys asked him for money.
When he told them no, they attacked him.
"I thought I was going to die... my life was in danger," Boethel told CBS 8. "They encircled me, and I said, 'You better leave me the bleep alone... I just want to go home'."
Boethel, a nurse anesthetist, suffered a concussion, a broken hand and injuries to his shoulder, back and neck.
He added that, while he wants his assailants brought to justice... he is not optimistic.
"They need to be gotten off the street, and sent home to wherever they're from," Boethel said. "They're not our problem."
Hardin said, "It was violent. Unfortunately, it seems to be happening a little more around town."
People were coming up to our cameras in Ocean Beach, wanting to tell us the same thing.
We met Edward, who said he helps the homeless through his local church.
Edward said, "It's upsetting because I love this town. When I come home, the last thing I want to see is somebody getting his butt kicked right in front of the Hodad's at a10 o'clock."
We met Shanda Anderson coming out of Starbucks. She and her husband own Sunset Garage in Ocean Beach. She said, "People don't want to stop and pull in our business because they're afraid. We have a lot of classic cars. People steal car covers all the time. People will sleep under [our] cars when we get to work in the morning. Urine. Feces everywhere. It's gross. OB used to be such a cool little town. The hippies are now violent."
The people we spoke with in Ocean Beach said they are fed up and frustrated by the lack of city leadership and police protection.
Edward said, "Where are the police for this? The police aren't doing anything about it. They lock these people up for 72 hours and get right back out."
Hodad's Shane Hardin said it's not just Ocean Beach.
He owns a restaurant in Downtown San Diego dealing with the same issue, and he said his friends all over San Diego County are sharing similar experiences.
"I've talked to police officers, and they've told me they're not able to do their jobs right now. People shouldn't feel unsafe and unprotected by the people we're paying to protect them. I want everyone who does business in OB and lives in OB to thrive, do well, and feel welcome here and like they want to be here. When places like Starbucks are going out of business, that could signal that something needs to change around here with enforcement," Edward continued.
"I love this town: I will live my life and die loving this town," Boethel said of Ocean Beach, where he has lived since age 17.
However, he added that, despite his love* for his community, he believes that this ongoing situation with violent homeless people has to be addressed.
"They can't go on like this anymore: It has been overrun," he told CBS 8, "and the city has just given it over."
In response to Friday's attack, San Diego Police Lt. Adam Sharki issued this statement:
"We understand why this incident is distressing to our community. The video is difficult to watch. The San Diego Police Department will continue to quickly respond to calls for service and work proactively to keep our neighborhoods safe. This is an active investigation. While the suspects in this attack currently remain at large, our detectives have identified persons of interest and are working to build a case against those involved."