An Aptos teenager is in critical condition after he and two other boys were hurt after they say they were assaulted with a hammer as they slept.

It happened in Aptos, near Santa Cruz. The sheriff’s office says the one person who may know the most about what happened can’t tell them anything right now because he is fighting for his life in the hospital.

It was about 1:40 a.m. Monday when several masked men entered a home on Monte Vista Drive in Aptos and assaulted three teenagers.

They were attacked with hammers, says Santa Cruz County sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Cleveland.

“Two of the victims were sleeping at the time of the attack,” Sgt. Cleveland said. “One victim, a 17-year-old, is still in critical condition. He was taken to a trauma center while the other the other two were treated and released.”

No one answered the door at the home where the teenagers, two of whom are 16 years old, are said to have been attacked as they slept in the garage.  

Some items were stolen.

Neighbors are shocked by the violence.

“Just the brutality of it was a surprise,” neighbor Bud Lux said. “The fact that it happened and then when you hear the details of what happened, it’s pretty scary stuff.”

Others in the usually peaceful Aptos Hills neighborhood off Trout Gulch Road have been sharing stories about strange cars coming and going at all hours and that the assault on the teenagers is somehow drug-related.

“That’s one thing we’re looking into,” Sgt. Cleveland said. “We don’t know if it was a personal attack or stealing some items, but we’re looking into all aspects of this, but the boy’s medical condition is such that we haven’t been able to get much information at this point.” 

It was not made available, but investigators have some grainy surveillance video of a vehicle leaving the scene, but they cannot determine the make and model of the car.

The assailants are described as men between the ages of 18 and 20.