Two students in California have been charged for attacking a fellow middle schooler in an attack that left the victim dead.
The boy who was punched, 13, identified by local authorities by his first name, Diego, died on Wednesday, Sept. 25. He was sucker-punched at Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley on Sept. 16.
The attack was caught on video and led to the arrests of two other 13-year-old boys. The footage showed one boy hitting Diego in the face while the other sucker-punched him on the side of the head, causing the victim to hit a pillar and crumple to the ground, where he was attacked further.
Prosecutors said on Thursday that the two alleged assailants were charged with assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.
The charges were announced by the Riverside County District Attorney’s office, which said one student will appear at a hearing on Oct. 2 and the other will appear on Oct. 15.
Because the boys are minors, their identities have not been disclosed publicly.
Diego’s death was announced on Thursday by the Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Office, which stated, “Rigorous medical intervention and treatment efforts at an area hospital were unsuccessful.”
“The Sheriff’s Department joins the community in mourning the loss of this young man. The two suspects previously arrested for the assault which led to Diego’s death remain in the custody of Riverside County Juvenile Hall, facing prosecution for this assault. Due to the age of the involved parties, no further details regarding this incident will be publicly released at this time,” the office said.
Anyone with information was asked to call Investigator Joshua Manjarrez at 951-955-2777, assigned to the Central Homicide Unit, or Investigator John Tometich at 951-486-6700, assigned to the Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Station Investigation Bureau.
In a statement at a press conference on Wednesday, Martinrex Kedziora, Moreno Valley Unified School District superintendent, said, “Our community and the Moreno Valley Unified School District family has suffered an immeasurable loss.”
“On behalf of the Board of Education, I want to send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of our beloved student,” he said, reported ABC 7.
Tensions have run high since the attack. Students and parents confronted Kedziora on Wednesday night during a vigil for Diego, the Press-Enterprise reported.
“We came here for Diego and we came here for the community and our children,” Mia Carino, mother of a 10-year-old who is slated to go to Landmark in a few years, told the paper. “[Kedziora] owes us answers, where was the security? Why did Diego’s family come a week before the attack? They reported the bullying and nothing happened.”
“What did the school district do? Nothing,” another woman said, reported CBS LA. “What did the school district do a week before when the mother came pleading for her son’s life? They did nothing. Where is the superintendent?”
Kedziora declined to say whether any teachers or staff would be punished after the bullying incident. He said the investigation was ongoing.
He was eventually escorted from the crowd that had surrounded him by sheriff deputies.
Some people said he should resign over the alleged lack of action to stem the bullying issue at the school.
“Kids are being bullied and they’re not doing anything,” parent Karla Palumbo told ABC 7. “We’ve asked them to change the policies, the rules, a little bit more stricter, but that hasn’t happened.”