Father fatally stabbed while daughter sat on his lap at US steakhouse

Anthony Mele was eating dinner with his family in California

Father fatally stabbed while daughter sat on his lap at US steakhouse

Anthony Mele | Image: gofundme.com

A homeless man has been charged with murder after a father was fatally stabbed in the neck, as his five-year-old daughter sat on his lap at a restaurant.

Anthony Mele (35) was eating dinner with his wife and daughter at the beachside Aloha Steakhouse in Ventura, California, on Wednesday evening when he was allegedly attacked by Jamal Jackson.

Jackson (49) is said to have been followed out of the restaurant by other diners and a staff member, who were able to keep track of him until police arrived and arrested him.

Mr Mele, who according to his Facebook page worked as the manager of an AT&T store, was taken to hospital and died on Thursday after being taken off life support.

Since then an online fundraiser has amassed more than US$32,000 (€26,040) in donations to support his wife and daughter.

"Anthony was a wonderful father to his young daughter, loving husband, son and brother," the GoFundMe page reads.

"Our hearts are severely broken for his daughter and family."

Anthony Mele | Image: gofundme.com

Mr Mele is not thought to have interacted with his alleged killer before the attack took place.

Ventura City Council has increased police patrols in the area as a result of the incident, with additional staff members brought in to monitor security cameras.

Mayor Neal Andrews said: "We are extremely disheartened and infuriated by this criminal attack.

"We will not tolerate this in our community. Nothing is more important than the safety of our visitors, residents and businesses."

Jackson, who is being held in Ventura County Jail, faces up to 55 years in prison if convicted.