Five men have been arrested after an attack in the car park of a Sunderland church left a victim fighting for his life.
The arrests were made as police continue to appeal for witnesses to the serious assault at Hope House Community Church.
At around 10.45am on Friday police received a report of an assault in the car park of the church on Hendon Road.
The 40-year-old male victim had got involved in an altercation with two other men in the car park before being assaulted and falling to the ground.
Following the incident the man was taken to hospital by the air ambulance, with life-threatening injuries and he remains in a critical but stable condition.
The two men involved in the assault fled the scene shortly after the assault.
Enquiries into the incident are still ongoing and the men arrested, who are aged 41, 30, 29, 27 and 25, have been released under investigation.
Detective Inspector Sean McGuigan is leading the investigation into the assault and said police are still keen to speak to any other witnesses.
He said: "This was a very serious assault that has left a man fighting for his life and we took quick action to make some arrests in connection with the incident.
"It took place in broad daylight in the car park of a church and this would have been very disturbing for any local people in the area at the time.
"We do believe those involved were known to each other and that this was not just a random attack however we still need people in the area at the time to get in touch.
"We are keen to speak to anyone who saw what happened but also anyone who saw two men leaving the area at the time of the incident on Friday."
Detectives ask that anyone who saw two men leaving the area concerned, or have information that could identify them, to get in touch with police.
If anyone can assist detectives then they are asked to call 101 quoting log 368 23/03/18 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.