A man holding his five-year-old daughter was stabbed by a homeless man at a restaurant in Ventura, California, on Wednesday.

Anthony Mele, 35, was having dinner at Aloha Steakhouse on the Ventura Promenade with his wife and daughter at 9:20 p.m. local time (12:20 a.m. EDT, Thursday) when the supposedly random attack took place.

The suspect, Jamal Jackson, 49, walked up to Mele, whose daughter was sitting on his lap, and stabbed the victim in the neck. The man, still brandishing his knife, tried to flee the scene of the crime but some good Samaritans — patrons and a restaurant employee — chased him down to the beach and kept track of him till the police arrived and took him into custody, ABC7 reported. 

Officers also administered first aid to the victim till medical responders arrived and rushed him to a nearby hospital. Even after receiving immediate surgery, Mele remained in a critical condition. He was removed from life support late Thursday night and he died of his injuries.

Jackson was charged with premeditated, first-degree murder of the victim and is currently being held in Ventura County jail on a $1.5-million bail. He was initially booked on suspicion of attempted homicide. Jackson is scheduled to appear in court on April 27. If convicted, he could face up to 55 years in prison.

The motive behind the attack remains unknown but the police suspect that it was unprovoked as the victim and the suspect did not know each other.

“It’s horrible,” Prosecutor Richard Simon said, Toronto Star reported. “You don’t think you’re going to be killed when you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant with your family and you didn’t do anything. He was just sitting there with his daughter in his lap. You’re not supposed to die that way.”

He also confirmed that the victim and the suspect had not interacted prior to the attack.

According to Ventura police, the suspect was seen hanging out in the shoreline area hours before the attack and had received calls regarding his disruptive behavior. They could not respond then due to the lack of available resources.

They did, however, monitor his movements for some time after receiving complaints regarding his behavior, using security cameras in the area. After 20 minutes of tracking him, they determined he did not pose an immediate threat to anyone around him and they ceased their monitoring efforts, CW affiliated KTLA reported. 

The manager of the Ventura restaurant said the victim's family called to thank the good Samaritans who rushed to help during the incident. 

A GoFundMe page was started for Mele. At the time of writing this article, the page had raised more than $28,000 of their goal of $50,000.

“Anthony was a wonderful father to his young daughter, loving husband, son and brother,” wrote the organizer of the page, Morgan Gutierrez. “Our hearts are severely broken for his daughter and family. It is my hope that we can now honor Anthony and help lay him to rest. Any donations large or small will be greatly appreciated.”