CHULA VISTA, CA (KGTV/CNN) – Teenager Paul Martin thought he was going to die. His parents said he’s still having trouble sleeping at night.
Standing with a crowd of supporters, including his family and complete strangers, 16-year-old Martin on Wednesday spoke for the first time since his attack at the Cotixan restaurant in Chula Vista on April 11.
“I never thought I would get this much support, and I thought I would just be ridiculed because of all of this,” Martin said.
Video of Martin’s attack surfaced last Friday, sparking outrage in his community.
“They were jumping on my head, they were stomping on it. They had cleats on,” Martin said.
The video shows at least six people punching, kicking and stomping on Martin as he struggled to protect himself.
“It was horrifying,” he said. “I thought I was going to be dead any second. I thought I was going to pass out and they were going to keep on kicking me until I stopped breathing. It was scary, but I’m just glad it’s over.”
On Wednesday, Martin’s family hosted a peaceful protest to speak out against bullying, asking people to step in to help if they see someone getting hurt – a message Martin himself delivered.
“Next time, think: If you were in that position, would you want someone to step in?” he asked the crowd.
The Chula Vista Police Department was also on hand, just hours after officials announced the arrests of six people – four minors, aged between 15- and 17-years-old, and two adults, ages 18 and 19 – on suspicion of having participated in the attack.
The four arrested minors were students at Morse High School in San Diego, and they’ve since been suspended.
The two adult suspects, Kent Pasunting, 18, and Aldrin Uy, 19, attended Mark Twain High School, an alternative/continuation high school with a campus located at Morse High School.
Martin’s family said he was waiting for his mom to pick him up at the restaurant after school, when a group of teens walked in and started kicking and punching him.
Paul Martin’s father, Margarito Martin, said everything started days before on Instagram, when, he said, his son told someone to stop harassing one of his friends. He said one teen then started messaging his son, saying he was going to beat him up.
Responding to criticism that police didn’t take the case seriously, Capt. Vern Sallee explained that investigations take time, adding that detectives analyzed the video of the attack frame by frame to identify those responsible.
“Bullying is not tolerated in any form in this community, especially among our youth,” Sallee said.