NORTH DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It was all hugs and well-wishes Thursday for Derek “DJ” Madrigal of North Dallas. His warm homecoming was a far cry from the brutal beating he received less than two weeks ago. “I don’t look bad now, but I was bad,” recalled Madrigal. ”I’m strong and I’ll make it,” he added.
The 21-year-old Brookhaven College student told reporters he didn’t want to dwell on his nine stab wounds and punctured lung suffered at the hands of a vicious mob. “I just don’t want it to happen again,” explained Madrigal. People need to learn what is right.”
Madrigal was enjoying spring break when he came to the rescue of a girl who was being harassed by a group of men on a South Padre Island beach. DJ was suddenly pulled into the mob, stabbed and beaten with coolers. The beating was all captured on video.
He was finally pulled to safety by a Good Samaritan. “I remember him carrying me,” recalled Madrigal. “Some girl asked him, do you even know this guy? The guy said, no, but he needs help.”
Madrigal spent five days in intensive care with his mother and father by his side. “It’s given us a stronger bond. There’s no question, it shook us to the core,” said Frank Madrigal, DJ’s father. “We’ve come up from it holding hands and holding hearts,” Frank added.
DJ says he’s thrilled to be back in Dallas and eager to move on with his life, now that it has new meaning. “I’m going to live my life even better now, he said. You got to cherish life. Life could be gone any minute.”
South Padre Island police arrested Michael Rangel of San Antonio. The 33-year-old is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Police are still looking for several other suspects.
(Copyright 2012 KTVT, CBSDFW.COM, CBS Local. All Rights Reserved.)
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