HUNTINGTON BEACH — After spending an evening verbally attacking minorities, two self-proclaimed white supremacists stabbed a Native American man 27 times, leaving him in critical condition, police said Monday.
Erik Roy Anderson, 20, of Huntington Beach and a 17-year-old from La Palma are regulars in a crowd of skinheads who frequent Main Street, doing Nazi salutes, harassing minorities and frightening away customers, police and merchants said.
The stabbing at 12:45 a.m. Saturday followed a night of trouble-making as Anderson, the 17-year-old and at least two other friends verbally accosted a Latino couple, an Asian woman and a Jewish woman on the Huntington Beach Pier, said Lt. Dan Johnson.
The stabbing victim, 20, and two friends were sitting on a lifeguard tower at the city beach when Anderson and the 17-year-old confronted them, police said. The 20-year-old became nervous about the pair's references to white power and tried to run away, police said. The La Palma teenager grabbed him and punched him in the face, police said.
"Anderson then produced the knife and started stabbing him like crazy," Johnson said.
The victim's friends, who are white, were not injured.
"It's a horrendous crime, because it's motivated by racism," Johnson said. "These kids were out looking for minority groups to attack. They finally found one in the dark after verbally assaulting three people. They tried to murder another human being just because of the color of his skin."
The victim, who works as a pizza cook and lives outside the county, had come to Huntington Beach with a friend to visit the friend's girlfriend, said his mother, Toni, who asked that her last name not be published.
He was reported in critical but stable condition at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange on Monday with stab wounds in his chest, liver, back, neck, colon and hands. His heart had stopped in the ambulance, and paramedics detoured to nearby Pacifica Hospital to revive him before airlifting him to UC Irvine's trauma center, Johnson said.
"He's strong," said his mother, 40, who was by her son's side in the hospital. "He just doesn't want to die. He wants to get well now, so he's fighting."
She said her son "remembers everything" about the attack.
"He gave me the thumbs up sign when I told him the good news, that they got the guys," she said. The attack was so frenzied that Anderson, who allegedly wielded the large hunting knife, mistakenly stabbed his own friend in the eye, Johnson said. The 17-year-old staggered bleeding to the 100 block of Main Street and was spotted by police, who radioed paramedics.
He was treated for his wound and later booked into Orange County Juvenile Hall, police said. Statements by him and two teenagers who were with the group led police to Anderson, Johnson said. He was arrested at 4:10 p.m. Sunday at a pet store in the Westminster Mall, where he has worked as a clerk for the past month. He was booked into the Huntington Beach City Jail, and bail was set at $285,000. He was expected to be arraigned today.
Times staff writers David Haldane, Lily Dizon and Lorenza Munoz contributed to this story.