A San Pedro High School baseball player is speaking and set to begin physical rehabilitation after a brutal beating left him in the the intensive care unit.
Evan Jimenez, 15, suffered brain swelling and was placed on a ventilator after two suspected gang members attacked him on March 30 around 10 p.m. in the 900 block of West Second Street, in an unincorporated part of San Pedro, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
In a brief video posted to Facebook by his mother on Tuesday, Evan tells family and friends: "Thank you, everybody, for all your prayers and support."
Family members told KTLA on Thursday that Evan has just begun learning to walk again after the attack. He woke up this week after being under sedation, and quickly started talking.
"He's having to really learn to walk and remember things," said Cortney Steinhoff, Jimenez's aunt. "He's really confused. He doesn't really know what's going on, what's happened."
Evan was hit over the head with a Jack Daniels bottle, stepped on and “beaten beyond recognition," according to family and friends. He was transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in West Carson for initial treatment and is now in a Long Beach hospital for physical therapy, family said.
"Walking is a big challenge just because he's been laying down for two weeks, and again, his mind just has to catch up," said Steinhoff.
The attackers, who deputies said could have been trying to join the Rancho San Pedro street gang, asked Evan about his gang involvement before assaulting him and leaving him to die. The assault was part of a gang initiation, the Sheriff's Department said.
Evan is not in a gang and has never been involved with gang activity, according to family. Deputies are still searching for the suspected attackers, the family said.
"We're just letting them do their thing and focusing on Evan," said Steinhoff. "It's still really difficult. He's an athlete, he's a baseball player and he's not out there playing baseball, he's in a hospital bed."
During his time in the hospital, Evan has gotten a visit from local City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who used to be an L.A. police officer in the area, and a video from Dodgers manager Dave Roberts promising a chance to meet players once the teen is better.
Family told KTLA that Evan still has a long road to recovery and doctors are not certain when he will be able to leave the hospital and return home.
"Doctors can't tell us 100 percent he's going to go home and be the Evan that he was," said Steinhoff. "It's a really long road to recovery but he's making all the steps the doctors are wanting him to make."
Anyone with information about this assault is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department Lomita station at 310-539-1661.