Man sleeping inside church attacked and stabbed

SAN DIEGO — A 33-year-old transient man was behind bars Friday on suspicion of stabbing a man multiple times during a break-in at a church in Otay Mesa.

Gerardo Burciaga allegedly broke a window to gain entry to the Casa Del Rey Church on 30th Street near Iris Avenue shortly after 10:30 p.m. Thursday, San Diego police Sgt. Michael Tansey said.

The victim, a 27-year-old man who had been sleeping in the church, was awakened by crashing sounds, saw the suspect and ordered him to leave. Burciaga threw a brick at the victim, narrowly missing his head, Tansey said.

Burciaga then attacked the man, stabbing him with a pocket knife in his neck, chest, shoulder, arms and legs, the sergeant said.

The victim was able to chase Burciaga out of the church and followed him to a nearby trolley station on Iris Avenue, where the suspect hopped onto a northbound trolley. The victim then called 911, according to Tansey.

Officers found the suspect at the Palm Avenue trolley station and arrested him on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and burglary, Tansey said. The victim was taken to a hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.