Adults deny charges in teen’s brutal taco shop beating

CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Assault and battery charges were filed Thursday against two young men who allegedly took part -- along with four minor suspects -- in assaulting and robbing a teenager at a South Bay restaurant last week, leaving him with a fractured arm.

Aldrin Uy, 19, and Kent Bernard Pasunting, 18, both of San Diego, are accused along with four juvenile suspects of attacking the 16-year-old victim at Cotixan Mexican Food in Chula Vista. The attack stemmed from an apparent ongoing feud originating from a dispute on social media between the victim and one of the juvenile suspects, according to police.

The victim was with his girlfriend at the eatery in the 1300 block of East Palomar Street when he was confronted, beaten and robbed last Thursday, Capt. Phil Collum said. The boy was unable to positively identify his assailants, the captain said.

"A video of the attack was shared on social media and gained significant media attention," Collum said. "All six suspects were identified, in part, by the video."

“I want them to be charged with the maximum," the victim's father, Margarito Martin, told FOX 5.

School officials and the management of the restaurant also helped police track down the suspects, according to Collum.

On Tuesday, investigators arrested Pasunting and Uy for allegedly taking part in the crime. Both had attended Mark Twain High, a continuation school with a campus at Morse High School.

The other four suspects, who range in age from 15 to 17, were also taken into custody Tuesday. All of them attended Morse High School prior to being suspended following the fracas at the restaurant. Their names were withheld because they are minors.

The crime "appeared to be related to an ongoing online dispute between the victim and one of the juvenile attackers," Collum said. "The dispute began last month, when the victim and suspect got into a heated exchange on social media over comments made to one of the victim's friends."

Uy and Pasunting pleaded not guilty to the charges and are scheduled to return to court April 25. They are both being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

If they post bail, they are not allowed to come within 100 yards of the victim or contact him in any way, including on social media.

"The victim is absolutely off-limits to these people," Deputy District Attorney Jack Weh told FOX 5.

The four juvenile defendants are expected to appear in juvenile court on Monday.

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