TURLOCK (CBS13) — It was video almost too difficult to watch: a teen with special needs was sucker-punched in the face and jaw, begging for mercy, as his attackers grabbed his sneakers and his bike.
Now the community has reached out to replenish things stolen. Turlock police say there have been no arrests in the case, although the school district has identified the three boys seen in the video and reportedly disciplined them.
Michael Valdez, 14, says he doesn’t want to watch the video because the bullies stole more than his belongings, they stole his self-confidence.
“They didn’t say anything. They just started doing that to me,” Valdez said. “It hurt me because I was confused because I really didn’t know what I had done.”
Since his Mom spoke publicly about the attack, the community has reached out, replacing his stolen bike among other things.
“I got a basketball and this net for my hoop, and I got some basketball shoes,” said Valdez.
“It’s restored a lot of faith in me, which is good, ’cause I was just really sad and hurt,” said his mother Monica Valdez.
She has been overwhelmed with the cards and gifts, some monetary, for Michael.
“It makes me feel better about Turlock, all the good people that there are here,” she said.
Michael says these painful images will never be erased but can be replaced through the love and kindness from others.
“I am very thankful for that and I liked it. And I appreciate it for all the stuff they said and the joy they have brought to me,” he said.
Family and friends are planning a bike run this Saturday to bring awareness to the issue of bullying with the online name #BikeforMike. It will start at Seasons park and end behind Turlock Jr. High where the assault occurred. The bike ride is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on Saturday.