By Phyllis Smith

DALLAS (1080 KRLD News) – A 21-year-old Brookhaven College student was beaten with the lid of a cooler and stabbed while protecting a girlfriend who was being harassed by some men in South Padre Island, a police spokesman said Wednesday.

South Padre Island Police Chief Randy Smith said Derek Madrigal, 21, is recovering in a Harlingen hospital following the attack. Harlingen is about 40 miles from South Padre Island.

“Some, what appears to be non-spring breakers came in and started to cause havoc in the middle of the crowd,” Smith said. “The victim that got so badly assaulted? He stood up for the girl.”

The woman told a Brownsville television station that she didn’t see any police around as Madrigal was beaten and stabbed. Smith said there were plenty of police there, however, despite cell phone video uploaded to YouTube following the attack.

“You couldn’t see if people were making their way to the crowd, maybe the phone was put up because police were coming – I don’t have a clue,” Smith said. “You know, maybe they thought they were getting spotted.”

The woman, who asked CBS radio station KGBT not to be identified, said she was hit during a scuffle. Madrigal came to her rescue and was beaten and taken into a tent on the beach.

“The next thing I know, they grabbed him again and took him to another tent,” she said. “Then another tent crashed down.”

A 33-year-old San Antonio man has been arrested in connection with the attack, Smith said. His name has not been released. Smith said investigators are searching for other suspects, but would not say how many, citing the ongoing investigation.

Smith said South Padre Island remains a safe vacation, but the woman said she would not return.

“I used to love it,” she told KGBT. “It was a second home for me; but it just feels unsafe.”

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