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15-year-old nearly beaten to death while celebrating his birthday in South LA

15-year-old viciously beaten while celebrating his birthday
15-year-old viciously beaten while celebrating his birthday 02:25

Jason Rios is fighting for his life inside Harbor-UCLA Medical Center just days after turning 15 years old. 

His older sister Nayeli Rios said she feels helpless as her little brother remains in the ICU after a second emergency surgery. 

"It's devastating because I can't do anything," she said. "I am just there by his side, supporting him the entire time and just hopeful that he wakes up."

On Tuesday, Nayeli said her brother was violently attacked while eating a burger with a friend at the Habit located in Freedom Plaza in Watts. They were there to celebrate Jason's birthday.

"These individuals basically came up behind him, and they decided to punch him from behind, essentially dropping him to the floor, kicking him, punching him," Nayeli said. 

Investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department said three juveniles attacked Jason. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital, where doctors performed emergency brain surgery. Nayeli said her brother's face remains swollen from the vicious attack. 

"Currently, the doctors and the neurosurgeons haven't told us if he is going to be able to make a full recovery," she said. "They can't estimate when the swelling of his brain will go down; can't estimate if he is going to get better."

His mother, Lola Mendoza, said she's living out a nightmare after this heartless and cruel attack. She remains at his bedside despite the heartbreaking feeling of watching her son lying helplessly in a bed.

On Wednesday, police said they arrested one of the suspects for attempted murder. Investigators are still trying to track down the two others as Jason's family demands justice. 

"Unfortunately, this week it was my brother and possibly next week it could be someone else," Nayeli said. 

LAPD said Rios' friend was hospitalized but later released. If you have any information that can help the case, call LA Crime Stoppers at 1(800) 222-8477 or visit their website.

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