School beating investigation continues

January 19, 2009 9:06:24 PM PST
The investigation into the brutal beating of a student athlete at Bethel High School in Vallejo continued Monday as police search for additional witnesses and suspects.

They already have six young men in custody, but Vallejo police expect to make more arrests in the vicious beating of 17-year-old Bryant Lee, caught on a security camera at Bethel High School.

Lee was beaten unconscious after coming to the aid of a female student, the initial target of the attackers, who do not attend Bethel High.

Lee is slowly recovering at a Walnut Creek hospital, his basketball coach Darin Zander said.

"Bryant is doing OK, he's recovering at the hospital and hopefully be able to have visitors real soon, and hopefully be able to be home real soon," Zander said.

Thanks to the video, Vallejo police have arrested one juvenile and five others, all suspected gang members. They have all been charged with attempted murder.

The arrested suspects include two sets of twins from one family; 26-year-olds Alexander and Abraham Tili, who was on parole for a weapons charge, and 18-year-olds Ron and Ray Tili.

In 2002, the younger Tilis were badly burned when their family home was firebombed in an act police described as gang retaliation.

In 2005, another brother, Fonotaga Tili was shot and killed by police during the attempted robbery of a toy store.

A sixth Tili brother is in prison for murder.

The beating at Bethel High School comes just as the Vallejo Police Department prepares to eliminate their school resource officers, due to budget cuts.

Starting March 18, the number of officers specifically assigned to Vallejo schools will go from three to zero.

"Because they're not stationed at a school, they will still definitely respond to calls from a school, so it's not like we won't have their services at all," Superintendent Mary Bull said.

The district may also look at hiring private security guards.