The manager of a California pizza parlor was left fighting for his life after he was nearly beaten to death by a pair of suspects trying to get free food.
Huntington Beach police found Garret Peterson outside and unconscious following a report of a fight near the 300 block of Pacific Coast Highway, Orange County News reported.
The 33-year-old manager of Thunder Burgrz & Pizza in the early hours of the morning turned away two men demanding a free pie, who then allegedly assaulted Peterson when he stepped outside for a break around 1 a.m.
A security guard spotted Peterson on the ground and rushed over to help.
“When I got there, I saw Garret was already laid out,” James Monin told CBS. “One of the guys that was involved was trying to walk away so I grabbed him.”
Peterson was rushed to Hoag Hospital at Newport Beach, where he was put in a medically induced coma.
According to a GoFundMe page created for his medical bills, doctors have attempted to wake up the assault victim.
Peterson “can talk a little bit but he is very aggressive and they have to keep putting him under,” his long-time friend Katelin Randall wrote in an update Monday, noting it was still “very good news.”
Police arrested Bryce Anthony Mezich, 21, and 22-year-old Austin Wright Callan shortly after the fight, according to the news station.
Mezich was charged with one count of assault with serious bodily injury — a felony — and battery on a person as well as fighting in public. Callan faces one count of battery and one of fighting in public, police told the newspaper.
Mezich posted bail and was released while Callan was cited and also released.
Peterson’s friend Juhl Floyd said the charges didn’t feel like they were harsh enough.
“The condition he is in, I think it should be attempted murder,” she told CBS.