Ocean Beach Gang Attacked Homeless and Locals Sunday Night, July 14

by on July 17, 2013 · 33 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Homelessness, Ocean Beach

Newport Ave 4900 block

Sunday night’s attack occurred in this block of Newport Avenue.

The OB Rag has heard from two independent sources that an Ocean Beach gang attacked several homeless men Sunday night, July 14th, causing at least one serious injury, and then also attacked some locals. This occurred at approximately 2 a.m. on OB’s main street, Newport Avenue.

A group calling itself “OB Rats” assaulted and beat a couple of homeless guys, with one of the victims having his nose seriously injured from a kick in the face.  He reportedly had his backpack stolen by the gang of  young males that contained food for his dog.  This attack occurred in the 4900 block of Newport Avenue.

The attackers then tipped over a trash container on the sidewalk along Newport Avenue. A local – a young man – who was sitting near the OB International Hostel, yelled at them to stop and have respect for OB.

The group then crossed the street and began assaulting him and at least one other male in front of the hostel. One of the attackers was thrown on the ground, and his buddies picked him up and left.

Police were called and responded roughly 20 minutes later and took reports from t he victims.

The attackers appeared to be men in their late teens and early twenties.  Some of their victims told us that they know where the group lives and hangs out – a location on Newport.

The OB Rats have been around for awhile and make appearances now and then.  A few years ago, they were purportedly handing out leaflets dissing homeless people.

But the community cannot condone or accept this type of behavior from anyone calling themselves “locs”.  This type of late night attack against homeless people last Sunday is not the first story of this kind that we have heard.  This one has been corroborated.

This has to stop.  If you know anyone involved in these type of actions, please do something about it. Respect OB.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack July 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Unfortunately, I have seen this coming. When the SDPD harasses, intimidates and oppresses a group of human beings who are weak, exposed and unrepresented, then the public will not be far behind in doing the same. More to follow….


Ernie McCray July 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm

My thoughts exactly and I’m thinking about all that stuff a while back with the t-shirts that dissed the homeless at the Black. The Gang just took it to a scary violent level.


cahlo July 18, 2013 at 5:18 am

so you’re blaming the police for this? really…….


Melissa French July 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm

I hope no one is expecting a positive response from the cops as they tend to support any abuse towards the homeless in O.B. and do all they can to set obstacles and hurdles to jump just to survive. I lived there for several years and witnessed this first hand. The homeless can not be any place at any time without being harassed ; stopped , questioned , searched and treated as less than human beings. And as for the 20 minutes it took for the cops to arrive at the scene …. that is just ridiculous !! The number of patrol cars on duty is extreme and they are normally in that area at all times; constantly driving through or sitting in a parking lot. Maybe at the time of the attack they were all searching bushes hoping to dig out a sleeping homeless person. O.B. is such a beautiful place, too bad for the lack of human compassion and mutual respect…. especially from the one’s who are there “To Protect and Serve”. Sad. So Sad.


Laura T. July 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Anyone of us could be homeless at any time. To deride, put down any homeless person is an act against humanity. To beat a homeless person is a crime. Where is the Love? How could any establishment support a t-shirt that spews hate against a certain group of people? That establishment needs to be boycotted. Boycott The Black.
Jesus was homeless so was Buddha for a time and countless others of great merit throughout the ages. The bottom line is who are the punks that hurt these homeless and downtrodden people? Where is the love? Who are they? Bring them to justice. May justice be served.


Jamie July 23, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Gr8 post. I have boycotted the Black since they decided to sell that hateful sticker.

PS- anyone got a good guess on why it is called ” The Black” and what it supports?

I can tell you what one Christian youth-group leader supposed to me….


Kat July 17, 2013 at 7:01 pm

I was just in OB for three weeks and every single night there were six or seven or more patrol cars cruising all the streets. We watched on cop jack up a drunk kid on Santa Monica at 2 or so in the morning so they ARE INDEED in the area. Twenty minutes? Far too long for response time.


jim grant July 17, 2013 at 8:40 pm

I call bullshit on you melissa. I am in OB a LOT. I see SDPD walk right past packs of homeless looking folks at the seawall, on newport, on corners , at the plaza, at the cliffs at dog beach and they ARE NOT treated like you say. Now if they are buying or selling drugs, intoxicated, panhandling, have loose dogs , smoking, or causing a public disturbance they are hassled. So what.
Sad. So Sad that some of the homeless contingent does not recognize local laws, statutes and ordinances. Sad so sad.


Dave Rice July 17, 2013 at 9:11 pm

First I’ve heard about this, but that makes it no less disappointing…these kids reportedly have a house or apartment somewhere in the area that they use as a gang clubhouse?


obracer July 18, 2013 at 7:57 am

I have seen first hand the compassion for homeless people by police officers, if your not drunk or causing a disturbance they do not bother you, on the contrary they provide them with information to get help.
If S.D.P.D. wanted O.B. completely clear of homeless people it would happen very quickly, that’s not anybody’s goal. The homeless man that was attacked is a very polite person, I speak to him almost daily, his dog is also very well behaved.
Lets focus on helping find the persons responsible for these attacks, your loved one could be next.


OB Dude July 18, 2013 at 8:07 am

No cameras on Newport? Anywhere?


Mary July 20, 2013 at 1:35 pm

It won’t stay that way.


Kenloc July 18, 2013 at 8:39 am

At 2 AM….When the bars just closed and everyone that’s out is drunk. Lets open some more bars,restaurants with bars, sushi joints with bars,and then complain when stuff like this happens.
Perhaps it’s time to think a bit more when you get a notice in the mail saying someone wants a liquor license in the area.
I don’t know that the crime here will improve any,but we can probably prevent it from getting worse by putting a lid on the concentration of alcohol distributing businesses in the area.I think the two go hand in hand.Blame the PD all you want.I’m sure you will be quick to call for their help and glad to see them if something like this happens to you. Sometimes when they don’t arrive immediately they are out taking care of some other drunk dumbass at 2 am.
OB has always been a community that puts much thought into neighborhood planning.I think the restaurant and bar district that is being created is a bit of a mistake.Your asking for PB problems.
Coming soon in the old Portugalia spot, Another Cohn restaurant,with a bar no doubt……..These people don’t care about this place,just the dollars. Is this what we want OB to be?


Tyler July 18, 2013 at 11:29 am

The amount of bars should certainly be debated, but I think it’s ridiculous to blame them an uptick in violence/idiots on restaurants. Individuals that are actively seeking out violence when drunk are not patronizing restaurants in our community, they are patronizing the bars. If anything, it’s refreshing for the mediocre food locations closing and better places opening up.


Jon July 18, 2013 at 11:44 am

I agree. I think the cohns are solid, responsible operators. By moving a new restaurant in that space, they are going to help revitalize that area of east Newport. If it were strictly a bar/nightclub going in there instead of a Cohn spot, I would feel much differently.


John July 24, 2013 at 12:06 pm

What are you implying, that these so called “OB Rats” got intoxicated at an upscale establishment late and went on a rampage?
Fantasy much?
If these were the “OB Rats” that were around 20 years ago (or their generational successors) they don’t have the kind of folding money to frequent Roberto’s much less any “restaurant and bar district” establishments.
In those days most were the children of members of a well known (but I will leave unnamed as is the protocol) motorcycle club and those who came from that type of background. Many lived in the “war zone” as parts of north west OB were called.
The restaurant and bar district have been part of a redevelopment process so associating that with something whose roots stem from the old war zone is obviously nonsensical.
My feelings on this are rather mixed, this sounds like frustrated and misguided young adults lashing out at what they probably perceive as a problem in their environment. There was a kid on my block nearly 20 years ago I knew was in that gang, and because of his vigilance we didn’t have the various break ins and vehicle burglaries other blocks were experiencing at the time. I heard he grew up to be a responsible adult, though I also heard he had to “jump out” of the gang when he wouldn’t take the fall for someone else’s stupidity so maybe him being good, and his attitude he was looking out for our block, was atypical.
I guess it comes down to who would you rather see (or not see) scurrying around your neighborhood at 2-3 in the morning, an OB Rat or a couple of homeless people?
Each can be as harmless or harmful in their own way as our individual experiences and viewpoints allow.


Rachel July 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm

obracer, I am hoping this is not the man I am thinking of, if it is, I have seen him during my last several trips to OB, and last trip I met him and his dog and took some pictures of the dog. Do you happen to know the name of his dog?


Ryno July 18, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Melissa French. The line, I lived there for several years, says it all. We don’t need the opinion of a touch and go resident that wants to save the world through words rather than actions. I’ve experienced this problem in my hometown for 42 years and I applaud the PD and other active local residents that are trying to mitigate this problem. The majority of theses individuals are not the unfortunate few, but instead are people that have chosen at some point in their lives to go down the wrong path and have chosen OB because its widely known that they will be accepted, fed, and left alone. Not anymore. The article in the beacon last week hammering oasis church was right on point. STOP ENABLING. Local hard working, law abiding, tax paying, home-owners are sick and tired of seeing their community held hostage by belligerent, over aggressive “urban campers”. And oh ya, don’t get me started on the RVs in the main tower parking lot!!!!!!!!!


Annie July 18, 2013 at 8:25 pm

This is so sad, and I hope those responsible are caught. It’s already been said above, but 20 minutes? The police patrol Newport on a constant basis – how did it take 20 minutes for them to arrive?


Jamie July 23, 2013 at 11:45 pm

2am on a Sunday? No, Annie. You won’t find a cop around at that hour.

In fact, in my experience, police presence is either overwhelming or underwhelming, never in the middle where it should be.


OB Cindi July 18, 2013 at 9:55 pm

My thoughts and prayers are for both those who were attacked, and for those who had to witness the attack at 2am last weekend on Newport. I ca only imagine the feeling of helplessness until SDPD arrived. I have had to call the police in the middle of the night for various criminal activity going on around my home in the last few years and can say with great certainty that arrival time varies depending on what else is going on. The fact is, the victims were fighting to survive without police assistance for a period of time…however, I DO HOPE the police arrived as soon as they could. Phone reception is sometimes shoddy at best in OB which can cause delays in police response. When the caller sounds hysterical or panicked on the phone, it can inadvertently cause a delay in police response as it can be hard to understand what you are saying. I agree with Jack and Ernie that a few years ago when the issue of homelessness was at its height, police representatives were making it clear that they were more interested in reducing battery incidents then in stepping up protection of Travelers within Ocean Beach borders. However, I have to say that I have seen the police search backpacks and ask Travelers questions, but as I was a bi-stander I also overheard them telling the kids they were questioning where they could go for help, resources in San Diego County, and letting the kids be aware of things that will draw police attention (so behaviors like leaving a backpack alone in a public area and being intoxicated in public). As for the Cohns, they are an AMAZING contribution to Newport and have been supporters of solutions, not problems. I am both a supporter of them and their newly acquired business venture at the top of Newport Ave. I let out a sigh of relief when I discovered it was THEM who would take over the Portugalia. There were a lot of shady things that happened at that location…the fire was the icing on the cake. That property was mismanaged, falling into serious disrepair and as someone who had been in the kitchen once and saw rat feces on the floor and cockroaches running hither and thither, I can saw with utmost certainty in my mind that what that property needed was someone who was aware of both history, context and what will go best in that space. My point is this–downtown San Diego has a much larger population of homeless and Travelers with Father Joe’s facility helping THOUSANDS of homeless each week, and yet we don’t see the weakest and yet bravest members of our society being physically attacked while just trying to survive outside of four walls. Nor do we see tourist shops in downtown San Diego selling T-shirts and hats that propagate hate in the form of “humor.” So what is my point? As a citizen, consumer, and tax-paying member of Ocean Beach, I want to see justice served…..no more brushing these incidents under the rug. If the police have truly been told who is perpetrating violence in OB, a possible gang, and where they can be located, I ask, no BEG that they bring these folks in for questioning and do everything in their power to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. And I ask that like the folks who stepped up at the OB Hostel, saw someone being attacked and ACTED IN PROTECTION PUTTING THEMSELVES IN HARMS PATH I ask that all of you, do the same. You don’t have to put your life in jeopardy, just stay cool and calm, and keep repeating that police are on their way to the suspects, or attempt to follow suspects at a safe distance. That is what I love about OB. We caught one of the OB rapists because OB-CIANS GOT INVOLVED. We don’t turn a blind eye to thy neighbor in need, even if thy neighbor does not have a residence. SDPD we ask that you have US help YOU….post REWARD flyers on Newport for information that will lead to the conviction of any perpetrators of violence within our borders. Kevin Faulkner can help us with this–and he should whether or not he gets TV time. Violent attacks in OB scare away tourists and potentially great new neighbors in our borders–lets work as a community to scare those who wish to tarnish OB’s good name, out of our borders, or to have them prosecuted and put behind bars. As for the homeless man with the dog food that was stolen, I am sure that by now, someone has given him food. But if he needs medical help or food for the dog, have him visit OB Methodist or Sacred Heart or one of the other churches in our community, and they will be MORE THAN WILLING to direct him to subsidized or free assistance for the dog. And if they go to dog beach and ask people for help, they will ALWAYS RECEIVE HELP. I have never seen people on OB Dog Beach turn their back on a dog or person who need help. Under the skin, WE ARE ALL HUMAN. WE ARE ALL IN THIS UNIVERSE TOGETHER. HAVE A HEART. OFFER KINDNESS NOT JUDGEMENT. DO NOT TURN A BLIND EYE WHEN SOMEONE IS IN DANGER, AS YOU WOULD NOT WANT SOMEONE TO TURN A BLIND EYE TO YOU. And lets pray for SDPD to continue to make improvements in how they handle both people and dogs in our borders. No more incidents like tazing a naked guy or shooting a dog next to Hodads during Farmers Market. We are moving forward and making progress as a community. As the community of Ocean Beach and San Diego proper, and as citizens of this Human Race.


John July 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Somewhere between the extreme fringe of views expressed by yourself and ryno above is a reasonable common ground. Park your car with the windows down in East Village late at night and see what’s left inside when the unfortunate and downtrodden are done ransacking it of anything of possible value then get back to us with talk about the noble cause of the human race. Seriously, you don’t sound as if you’ve had any experience with the kind of lawlessness that happens in the wee hours of the night when there are a half dozen shopping cart dwellers on your block. If it isn’t nailed down or behind bars it gets stolen.
That said any one of us could be homeless tomorrow and should never forget compassion is something we may ask for at any time ourselves.


rs nariz July 19, 2013 at 12:24 am

Bravo OB CINDI, very well said!


Debra July 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I agree…except for the comment about Kevin Falconer, he and his staff are less than worthless.


Bill Ray Drums July 21, 2013 at 8:22 am

OB Rats huh… I got jumped by those assholes in 1991 right in the spot where SDPD’s private restrooms sit in the pier parking lot. I got to witness the fact that about 50 people would rather sit back and do nothing while a young me (22 at the time) nearly got beaten into a coma by a dozen miscreants. It’s called “The Bystander Effect” and it’s like surface tension. Someone MUST act. If you see this happening, DO SOMETHING. INTERVENE. Others will certainly follow.

I lost a lot of faith in my “fellow man” that night because no one helped, not a soul. Even the police thought I was a tweaker and I was treated with a whole lot of disrespect. Still makes my blood pressure rise a few points just thinking about it.


John July 24, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Do I have to point out how silly it is that you are implying the same individuals who attacked you 22 years ago are the “men in the late teens and early 20’s” responsible for this event? Are they vampires? The walking dead? The fountain of youth gang?
I don’t believe the OB Rats ever had the level of institutionalized cohesiveness necessary to be doing this same thing all these years later with a complete new generation. If that were the case I think the authorities would have penetrated and decimated their ranks long ago just as they did the motorcycle club some of their fathers claimed membership to.
Just a gut feeling but I think this is a case of the rumor mill, perhaps perpetuated by the attackers themselves to lend larger than deserved power and legitimacy to their numbers. You got beat up by a handful of thugs, someone suggests it was the OB Rats , don’t mess with those guys.
22 years later? The more things change the more they stay the same.
I remember there was a group calling themselves the OB Terrorists (hello NSA data mining keyword: eat me!) who were former rats who’d been rejected for various reasons.
Maybe they should have called themselves the Terriers and ate the Rats?


OB Cindi July 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Bill Ray Drums–THANK YOU for sharing what happened to you by the hands of the OB Rats. HORRIBLE that people watched, and NO ONE ACTED. I have experienced violence in OB. I begged three men standing nearby to help. They all shook their heads and moved away. We can tell our story, and warn people to ACT. INTERVENE. STAND YOUR GROUND with grace and without adding to the aggression. Whether or not the cops have been called, repeat over and over HERE COME THE POLICE. That will 9 times out of 10 get the aggressors to start running away. I am so sorry you lost your faith in the human race that night Bill Ray Drums. By telling others of what happened to you, you can get people who hear your story to start thinking, “What would I do if I had been there?” During 9/11 most people did what they could to escape the buildings and get THEMSELVES to safety. There were a FEW who not only stayed in the buildings or ran INTO the buildings, they walked thru flames and glass and saw horrible things to rescue others (and most of these few were not police, fire or others hired to protect and serve people). What made those few different? I think, at some point in their life, they had heard a story like yours, seen someone with their own eyes act with courage (or turn a blind eye and they knew deep down, that was NOT RIGHT), or had posed this question to themselves, “What would I do if helping someone else meant putting my physical, economic or mental safety at risk?” So keep telling your story to anyone who will hear it Bill Ray Drums! Lets make the FEW into the MANY!


roughcutt June 20, 2015 at 6:13 pm

Theres no such thing as ob rats
If there are people claiming to be ob rats
They are posers the original ob rats died out pretty much after the 1980s pretty much like the obts which the original ob rats where trying to copy but make it clear the obts were just a bmx bicycle group. Not terroist they didnt atrack homeless or innocent bystanders in fact they would assist if they saw somebody being attacked. . I lived in ob 25 years people know me well .. if any of you poser ob rats are listening you NEED to stop your group or obts will … end if story


Rob July 27, 2015 at 11:08 am

the ob rats have been gone for quite a while. if the writer of this article was from ob he shouldve known this.


shell August 8, 2015 at 11:55 pm

I agree with rob ^^ and john. I grew up in OB with the “Ob rats” they were my classmates, or surfing buddy or just another kid my age running around on newport ave like we all did but yes they were very adiment about our environment being clean and safe WTF is wrong with that. I still have family and friends there….I have not “lived” in OB in almost 15yrs (actively visit though) each time i go home and visit i notice more an more rift raft… and the Ob rats were winding down then….they definitely were not the biggest “gang” around, more like a “crew” kinda like “tsk crew” and all the other little clicks normal shit in any town. And as far as I know also ob rats no longer!! These children may try to claim ob rats because maybe there father used to be… does not mean it is some structured gang who premeditated there crime. My point is if your local 1502 then you know majority of the locals there are harsh on the homeless always have been always will be!!


Peter marino March 10, 2016 at 7:59 pm

I was assaulted by this group in 2008. I had gotten off work around midnight in downtown and decided to go for a walk along the beach to wind down. I live off Bermuda and sunset cliffs at that time. After walking on the pier I had just gotten off the stairs and was walking in the parking lot that leads to Newport when a group of 4 guys started yelling at me to start running or they would stab me. I continued walking and ignored them but two of them went after me. The first one I fought and managed to get on the ground and the second pulled a knife so I walked away fast. Managed to get a nice cut near my right eye. I headed to the Mexican restaurant across Newport and washed my cut out in the bathroom. Outside the restaurant there were a couple early 20 Hispanic kids and the ob rats punched one of them right off the picnic table out front of the restaurant. Forgot to mention they identified themselves as the ob rats and accused me of smiling weed on the pier which at that particular time I was not. This was years ago but i found this post after it popped in my head and thought I should share. Be safe


James October 24, 2018 at 2:44 pm

OBR were trash. One of them started harassing a female friend of mine. His boys insisted it wasn’t their business. Several friends and I tracked him down and got into a fight with him. He was probably 20, we were all 15-16. The girl was 15. This is what OBR were and the worst thing about them is that as kids we had to act like a gang because of them. We had to fight back, roll 5 deep at all times, and carry steel. Not what my friends and I wanted, but what we were forced into.


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