Father Beaten Into Coma While Getting Kids Ice Cream

The wife of a man who has been hospitalized in a coma since being attacked behind his San Juan Capistrano home asked for help from the public Thursday in tracking down the assailant.

The attack on 32-year-old Gamaliel Lozada behind 26585 Calle Santa Barbara occurred about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, when he left his home to get ice cream for his 2- and 5-year-old daughters.

Lozada's wife heard screams, then sirens, and went outside to find her husband severely beaten, said Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino. Detectives believe someone saw what happened, he said.

Lozada underwent brain surgery Tuesday night and is in a medically induced coma at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center.

"We're not sure if it's one or two suspects," Amormino said. "We do know that blunt force was used. He was hit over the head several times with some type of a blunt force instrument, possibly a baseball bat, something of that nature, because he does have massive head trauma."

"They're savage injuries," Amormino added. "Somebody intended to cause great bodily harm."

Amormino said the victim was not known to be involved with gangs or anything illegal, describing him as a "family man."

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The victim's wife, through a Spanish interpreter, told reporters that Lozada got only about 40 yards from their home when he was pulled into an alley and attacked.

Her husband had a small amount of money in his pocket to buy the ice cream, she said, adding that he has no known enemies.

Lozada, who also has a child in Mexico, works in a store in San Juan Capistrano, his wife said.

Co-worker Carla Duran told KCAL9 that someone had to be in the area.

"There's all these people out on the streets, especially at the time it happened," Duran said. "It is weird that nobody said anything, nobody says anything."

The attack took place in an area of San Juan Capistrano where a gang injunction is in place, but Amormino said people should have no fear in calling authorities.

"I want to assure them, they have nothing to be afraid of," Amormino said. "They can call the Orange County Sheriff's Department, provide information. No one will even ask your name."

The wife told reporters that she has been told her husband will be kept in the coma for the next three weeks.

Anyone with more information about the attack was urged to call 866-TIP-OCSD.

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