The Chula Vista community stood in solidarity with a teenager who was beaten up after coming to the defense of a bullying victim, and echoed his anti-bullying message at a rally outside the restaurant where the beating took place.
Chula Vista police announced Wednesday they arrested six people in connection with the brutal assault that was captured on video and shared on social media.
A 16-year-old boy was beaten up on April 11 inside the Cotixan Mexican and Seafood restaurant on East Palomar Street.
In a video that circulated on social media over the weekend, a group can be seen punching, kicking and, at one point, throwing a chair onto the teenager's head. As he fell to the floor, the group continued to beat him.
The victim's girlfriend told NBC 7 the teen was attacked following an argument that started a month ago on Snapchat after the victim stood up for a friend that was being bullied.
Chula Vista police announced Wednesday that four juveniles and two adults were arrested on suspicion of participating in the attack.
The juveniles, ages 15 to 17, were students at Morse High School and have been suspended as a result of the incident, police said. They were in custody and were slated to be transported to San Diego County Juvenile Hall according to CVPD.
Two adults - Kent Pasunting, 18, and Aldrin Uy, 19 - were arrested Tuesday.
Pasunting and Uy attended Mark Twain High School which is an alternative/continuation high school located on the campus of Morse HS, police said.
All six suspects will face charges of robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and burglary, police said.
Investigators believe the teenager was attacked in connection with an ongoing argument between the boy and one of the juveniles arrested.
"The dispute began last month when the victim and suspect got into a heated exchange on social media over comments made to one of the victim’s friends," CVPD said in a Facebook post.
Hours after CVPD announced the arrests, the victim, Paul Martin, addressed hundreds of people, some carrying signs and custom t-shirts with anti-bullying messages, circled outside of the restaurant where he was attacked.
"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 'til I stopped breathing," Martin said. "It was scary but I'm just glad it's over."
Nearby El Pollo Grill joined in on the anti-bullying campaign. There employees wore shirts that read "EPG Says No To Bullying."
Grill owner Victor Lopez said he grew up and still lives in Chula Vista, so whatever opportunity he has to help his community, no matter how small, means a great deal to him.
He's selling his t-shirts and donating the proceeds to some Olympian High School seniors who are authoring an anti-bullying children's book, titled "I Love To Respect You."
"It's a corny book, but it's a really good story about how a girl gets bullied and a kid stands up for her," co-author Luis Castro said.