Dallas College Student Brutally Beaten in Spring Break Attack

Friends say 21-year-old was defending girl's honor

A 21-year-old Dallas native is fighting for his life after he was beaten and stabbed on South Padre Island during spring break.

Two friends of Derek Madrigal said he was defending a girl's honor when as many as 10 men jumped him Saturday afternoon.

Patrick Jones and Ryan Leach, both of Dallas, said they got separated from Madrigal among the large crowds that congregate on the beach. They have since seen a graphic video of the attack that was posted online.

"They are just beating him with coolers, and you can see stab wounds," Jones said. "It's like, enough, someone tries to help him up, but they pull him back and keep beating him."

Madrigal's father, Frank, said his son was stabbed nine times and has a collapsed lung. He has undergone two surgeries since Saturday.

"He's a 21-year-old boy who takes pride in being an athlete," Frank Madrigal said. "If it wasn't for his physical condition, he may not have survived this accident."

Leach and Jones have visited their friend in the hospital. They said he is a warrior but believe he will have to put up the fight of his life.

"He has cuts all over him -- stabs," Leach said. "His face is more beaten than anyone I've ever seen. It's just horrible."

Frank Madrigal said he learned of the attack when police called him Saturday afternoon to tell him his son had been airlifted to a Harlingen hospital.

"It's far worse than the worst nightmare," said Madrigal, who is at his son's bedside in the intensive care unit.

Derek Madrigal's friends and family said they are asking for prayers and justice.

"This shouldn't have happened," Jones said. "If you know where these guys are, turn them in. Don't be afraid of them."

Police have arrested one person in the case, a 33-year-old man from San Antonio.

Friends directed NBC 5 to the graphic video of Saturday's attack in the hopes that someone can identify his attackers. (Warning: below video contains violent images.)

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