Baseball bat beating, arson at Fishtown homeless shelter

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A brazen, early morning attack was caught on camera outside a Philadelphia homeless shelter. (WPVI)

A brazen, early morning attack was caught on camera outside a Philadelphia homeless shelter.

Two men are seen on video attacking two others - one with a baseball bat, the other with a plastic bag, lit on fire.

It happened Sunday just after 5 a.m. outside the Philadelphia Brotherhood Mission on East Girard Avenue in the city's Fishtown section.

The organization feeds the homeless and helps recovering addicts.

John Larsen is one of the victim's, but the mission's director didn't want him to talk on camera, for fear of retaliation.

Pastor Eric Dorsey is the shelter director, and he tells us, "Yes, they actually were hurt. Baseball bats - I mean, I wouldn't want to get hit with a baseball bat."

Police are still trying to figure out what led to this assault. Officers say it may have involved a couple of incidents that were not caught on camera.

Whatever it was, it brought the two angry suspects back to the mission along Girard Avenue.

Philadelphia Police Lt. John Stanford says, "The gentleman that goes back over and lights the cocktail, he starts the fire. You can see the fire in the video. And he begins to fight with another gentleman that's standing near the doorway, taking that male's cane and beating him with his own cane."

Pastor Dorsey believes it was all the result of bar fight that spilled into the streets. He's confident his members were innocent bystanders.

He explains, "We have strict regulations. As you've seen, we don't have people hanging out in the front here at no time of day. And unfortunately they came out to check the security of the building and got attacked."

Police hope someone will see the video and help identify the attackers.

One concern is that one of the suspects threatened to come back and burn down the place.

Lt. Stanford says, "That's still a concern to us. The fact that we don't have them in custody. So, that's why we're putting the video out there, hoping somebody can identify them, and hopefully we can get these guys in."

The mission says it is now thinking about increasing security that would include some surveillance cameras.

Meantime, police say the two suspects were last seen driving a light colored Kia.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Philadelphia police.
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