SAN ANTONIO -

A witness to the beating of an elderly man describes him as being “helpless” as Roman Martinez, 32, allegedly punched and kicked him at a North Side gas station.

The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she suddenly noticed a commotion Oct. 22 in the area near the gas pumps at Sunny’s Gas and Food.

She said at first, she thought it might be customers arguing over a pump, but later realized a 78-year-old man was being attacked.

“(He was) on his back on the ground, getting hit in the head repeatedly,” she said. “He was just literally lying there helpless. It was disturbing. It's very sad."

The witness said she called for help, while a man who was nearby stepped in and tried to protect the victim.

"It took a while before (Martinez) finally just stopped and walked away," she said.

When San Antonio police officers arrived at the scene in the 3800 block of West Avenue, they quickly located Martinez with the help of witnesses, an arrest warrant affidavit stated.

Records show he lives in an apartment complex next door to the store.

According to the affidavit, the victim told detectives that Martinez walked up to him and, at first, accused him of hitting him with his car.

He said the suspect soon became angry and began pulling on his clothing, then hit him and knocked him down.

Once he was on the ground, the 78-year-old man was punched and kicked in the body and head, the affidavit stated.

The victim now is in a nursing home, undergoing rehabilitation.

The affidavit stated that the attack left him with a broken hip, among other injuries, and unable to walk without assistance.

Martinez, who is already on probation stemming from a May drug case, was taken to jail last week.

On Tuesday of this week, a charge of injury to the elderly was filed against him.

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