STOCKTON (CBS13) — Stockton police are on the hunt for a suspect who attacked a group of trick-or-treaters on Halloween and assaulted the man trying to protect them.

The attack happened on Chesapeake Circle in Stockton.

The victim’s family says he was hit on the head with a bottle, giving him a deep gash. It hit an artery used his own T-shirt to compress the wound until paramedics arrived.

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Police say he was trying to protect his 6-year-old autistic nephew and 2-year-old niece from getting hurt by a man in a “Pennywise” clown mask.

The attack took place right in front of Ken and Betty Thomas’ home, while they were inside.

“All at once I heard some kind of loud arguing,” Betty Thomas said, “but I thought it was just teenagers having fun. And then I heard a woman scream, and then from then on I thought, it was quiet.”

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“I guess the blood trail went all the way down to Petersburg [Circle],” Ken said.

As paramedics arrived to treat the victim’s deep head wound, family rushed the children home to safety.

“I’m sorry that it happened, but I’m also really sorry that it happened in front of children, on Halloween,” Betty Thomas said.

Stockton police say they have a vague description of the suspect as a man in a clown mask, in his 40’s. His victim is now recovering at home, his family surrounding him is still shaken by the terrifying attack.

“They’re a beautiful, beautiful family,” Thomas said.

Now, police are on the hunt for a man in a clown mask they say was behind a vicious attack.