Students' brutal attack on Houston teen caught on video; civil rights organization demands answers

The 15-year-old victim's family said they now have to deal with more than $15,000 in medical bills after the violent altercation.

Erica Simon Image
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Sterling HS teen doesn't know why classmates beat him
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A brutal attack caught on camera shows two teens attack another while at lunch. The victim spoke out about what happened. (Editor's note: The attackers' faces were blurred due to their ages. The victim's face was unblurred due to him coming forward in a public setting.)

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The brutal attack on a student at Houston's Sterling High School was caught on camera, and now his family wants answers.

It happened on Aug. 24, but Juan Martinez Jr. is still experiencing trauma and physical injury.

In fact, his medical bills are now more than $15,000.

The snippet of the video is quick, but upsetting.

In it, you see the teen sitting at lunch when two boys approach him and say something. Within seconds, the boys attack.

The boy's father, Juan Martinez Sr. says the video is hard for him to stomach, and he wishes he could have been there to protect his son.

We blurred the attackers' faces because they're underage, however Juan Martinez Jr. spoke openly to ABC13 at Houston's FIEL headquarters.

He said he knows one of the boys but doesn't know what prompted him to get attacked.

"The big kid came up behind me and said 'We got to fight in order for us to be cool,'" Juan Martinez Jr. said. "And I said, 'I actually don't want to fight with y'all. I don't have any beef with y'all or nothing. I just don't want to be with y'all.' And they said 'Oh, ok, cool.' And I went back to class."

Moments later in the cafeteria, things took a terrible turn.

The boy's father said his son had brain surgery when he was four. Since this attack, he said he's had dizzy spells.

"He did suffer injuries to his head and from the stomping, he did suffer injuries to his leg, which caused him, still to this day, caused him not to walk properly," FIEL Executive Director Cesar Espinosa said.

Houston Independent School District says it's aware of the social media video and have started an investigation.

Espinosa said FIEL, a Houston civil rights organization, wants more than that because the boys involved allegedly were back at school almost immediately after the fight. The organization argues a safe environment was not provided.

"We're calling for clarity and accountable from Sterling High School, as well as the Houston Independent School District, as well as all parties involved so that this family may get the resolve they deserve at the end of the day," he said. FIEL plans to start a GoFundMe page to help with that.

In the meantime, the family is looking to take legal action against the attackers.

ABC13 reached out to the Houston Police Department to see if they've gotten any information, but since it deals with juveniles, the process to obtain information is tricky.

If they won't lead the investigation, either HISD Police or the juvenile justice system will handle it.

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