On September 16, two 13-year-old students at Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley, California attacked another student — only known as Diego. The 13-year-old victim was in critical condition, and earlier this week, he was reported dead.
The 15-second video of the attack which has gone viral, was posted on social media and shows Diego standing up to his assailants before being sucker-punched. The teen then falls, hitting his head on a pillar and punched again once on the ground. The two boys were both charged with assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, according to John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
Due to their ages, neither teenage suspect has been identified but the Sheriff’s Department confirmed in a press release after the 13-year-old’s death that both teens remain in custody at Riverside County Juvenile Hall awaiting prosecution.
“Rigorous medical intervention and treatment efforts at an area hospital were unsuccessful,” sheriff’s officials said in the press release shared on Facebook. “The Sheriff’s Department joins the community in mourning the loss of this young man.” The statement goes on to share that his family has decided to donate his organs “to transform this tragedy into the gift of life for other children.”
Patty Rodriguez, the co-founder of Lil’ Libros and a producer of On Air With Ryan Seacrest, tweeted after the attack to share that the teen, identified as Diego, was her nephew. “I am at the hospital with my family. My nephew is a baby. He is fighting for his life. He doesn’t deserve this. He is a baby!!!” she wrote. She has not commented about his death at this time.
No motive has been revealed for the attack but according to the Los Angeles Times, sheriff deputies have responded to the campus for reports of battery six times since August 2018.
The Sheriff’s station has also issued a warning about a fraudulent GoFundMe related to Diego that is in no way affiliated with the family stating his family is not asking for donations at this time.
The district will provide additional counselors and support personnel on campus to help students employees and families, spokesperson Anahi Velasco said in an email, KTLA reports.
“As we mourn together, we also want to come together to find solutions and to take the necessary steps so that tragic incidents like this do not happen again,” Velasco said.
A candlelight vigil was held on Wednesday for the victim. The family is holding a gathering in Diego’s honor on Saturday in Moreno Valley starting at 5 p.m.