A 68-year-old man left critically ill after he was attacked by rioters was named by police today.
Richard Mannington Bowes was set upon as he tried to stamp out a fire during riots in Ealing, west London.
He remains in a critical condition in hospital today after suffering serious head injuries on Monday night.
Speaking from the scene of the attack, Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane said he has been unable to contact the victim's family and appealed to the assailant to turn himself in.
The victim, whose identity was established only when locals recognised his description and officers used his keys to enter his house, remains critical on a life support machine.
Mr McFarlane said the investigation could turn into a murder inquiry.
The detective described the scenes surrounding the attack.
He said a handful of officers, not wearing protective gear, arrived at 10.45pm to reports of looting at the Arcadia shopping centre.
The half dozen officers were massively outnumbered by scores of thugs and called for back-up as they were showered with missiles, including bottles.
"There was some suggestion he was attacked because he was stamping out fires that had been started," said Mr McFarlane.
"An officer saw Mr Bowes being knocked over and attacked and they called for assistance.
"Officers arrived and they were able to drive the mob off."
The injured 68-year-old was then taken to hospital.
Mr McFarlane said the attackers "clearly did not like what he did or said".
Mr Bowes was found without a wallet or phone so officers faced an uphill struggle to identify him.
Mr McFarlane said the victim, who is originally from Bournemouth, "clearly kept himself to himself and appears to be a very private man".
"I am desperate to get in touch with any of his family," the officer said.
He added that police have footage of the incident.
Scotland Yard also released an image of the suspect.
He is described as black, in his early 20s, of a big build, wearing a white T-shirt with writing on the front. He was also wearing a dark-coloured jumper over his shoulders.
Mr McFarlane said: "Today we are releasing a further image of a suspect, who we know was in the Ealing Broadway area from around 8pm onwards, participating in violence and looting.
"We know he was in the company of a large group of others, and that he appeared to be known to a considerable number of youths and young men who were also in the area.
"We are also releasing an image of a witness who we urgently wish to speak to. He had been in close proximity to the attack, recording the events on a mobile device.
"If you are the suspect in the CCTV, do the decent thing and give yourself up."
There was no answer at the flat where Mr Bowes lived or the neighbouring flat today.
One neighbour, who did not give his name, said he barely knew him because they "had words" over Mr Bowes complaining about his smoking.
A source said a relative of Mr Bowes has been located and is being brought to London.