HESPERIA, Calif. - A 12-year-old trick-or-treater was beaten over the head with a golf club and stabbed in the kidney with the shaft after he knocked on a neighbor's door, police said, an attack that left his quiet neighborhood shaken.
Richard Hernandez was in critical but stable condition Monday at Loma Linda University Medical Center, said police spokeswoman Karen Morgan.
An aluminum bat and a metal pole, both with blood on them, were found at the scene, and witnesses said they also saw the boy attacked with a bat.
Richard was trick-or-treating with his brother and a friend at about 8:50 p.m. Sunday when they knocked on Randall Colbrunn's door, according to a statement from the Hesperia Police Department.
''He had been handing out candy earlier, had shut off his lights, and obviously was irritated that somebody rang the doorbell,'' Morgan said. ''It could have happened to anybody.''
Colbrunn, 35, was arrested for investigation of attempted murder and jailed at the West Valley Detention Center, where he was held without bail. Police suspect he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the attack.
Morgan said she could not disclose whether Colbrunn had any previous criminal record.
A few hours after the attack, police searched the home and arrested Colbrunn's girlfriend, Doreen Johnson, 40, for investigation of possessing a controlled substance. Morgan did not know what drug was involved.
Police said Colbrunn hit Richard on the head with the golf club again and again, and when the club broke he stabbed the boy in the back with the broken shaft.
A passerby attempted to stop the attack but feared for her own safety, authorities said, because Colbrunn refused to put down the broken club.
Teresa Harvey, who called police after Richard's brother and friend ran to her home for help, said she could see the attacker's shadow from Colbrunn's driveway.
''He struck that baby twice and the baby didn't make a sound,'' she said.
Chris King, who lives across the street, said he was home when he heard a ruckus and thought there was a fight in the street. He went to his window and saw Colbrunn standing at the door with a baseball bat.
The attacker raised the bat over his head and slammed it down, said King, 16.
''I saw a little kid's hand go up, and then fall down. It broke me ... I didn't know what to do,'' he said.
Morgan said Colbrunn and Johnson had argued earlier in the day and she and her two children had left the home, but she apparently returned sometime after the attack.
Neighbors said Colbrunn has been a problem since he and Johnson moved in about three years ago.
Police often were called to the house on domestic violence calls, said Jennifer Caswell, 21.
''It's always something with them. There's always a problem over there,'' she said. ''If they ever come back here, we're moving.''
King said he often saw Colbrunn on the street yelling loudly.
''It's nuts when he's out here. I'm scared to walk to my friend's home because I'm afraid of him,'' the teen-ager said.
This city of about 60,000 lies about 80 miles northeast of Los Angeles, in the Mojave Desert.
The attack occurred in a lightly populated section of the city, on a block with just a few homes.
Colbrunn's house had Halloween decorations but the porch light was off when the boys, who live on another street, approached.