A boy who was hospitalized after being sucker-punched at a Moreno Valley middle school campus has died, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department officials announced Wednesday.
The boy was critically injured in the attack on Sept. 16 at Landmark Middle School. He has not been identified formally by authorities, but family and school officials said his name was Diego.
Two boys, also 13, have been arrested in connection with the assault, which was caught on video and created an uproar in the community. The boys remain in custody in juvenile hall and are facing prosecution, officials said.
Days after the fight, Diego’s condition had been updated to stable but critical condition. On Wednesday, he “was pronounced clinically dead last night as a result of injuries sustained in the attack,” officials said in a Facebook post.
“Rigorous medical intervention and treatment efforts at an area hospital were unsuccessful,” sheriff’s officials said in the Facebook page announcing the victim’s death. “The Sheriff’s Department joins the community in mourning the loss of this young man.”
Deputies responded to the campus, located at 15261 Legendary Drive, about 1:10 p.m. the afternoon of the incident.
Cellphone video that circulated on social media showed the boy being hit in the face by one boy, then sucker-punched on the side of his head by another. The second punch caused him to fall and hit his head against a pillar.
The boy who hit Diego first then hurries over to punch him again while he’s on the ground, the video shows. That boy then runs off and the video ends.
Diego was then rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
Classmates told KTLA that Diego had been previously bullied, including on social media. They also indicated violence has been an ongoing problem at the school.
Two days after the attack, hundreds of parents turned out to a meeting with the Moreno Valley Unified School District and expressed anger and uneasiness over how officials handled bullying cases.
A vigil will be held for Diego at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the middle school, according to the Facebook page Moreno Valley Matters.
The district will provide additional counselors and support personnel on campus to help students employees and families, spokesperson Anahi Velasco said in an email.
“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 community meeting scheduled for Thursday evening has been postponed and the district will instead hold a remembrance ceremony for Diego at the middle school from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.