2 Teens Charged in Connection With Fatal Sucker-Punch of 13-Year-Old Boy at Moreno Valley School

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Two 13-year-old boys accused in a brutal, on-campus assault in Moreno Valley that left their classmate with fatal injuries now face prosecution, authorities announced Thursday.
The victim, identified only as 13-year-old Diego, is seen in a photo tweeted out by a family member.
The victim, identified only as 13-year-old Diego, is seen in a photo tweeted out by a family member.
Both boys were 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. The juvenile petitions were filed on Sept. 18. “At this time, those are the filed petitions in this case,” he wrote in an email. “As with any case, should we receive updated information or evidence, we can amend to add, change, or file different charges.” Both students were arrested after the victim, identified only as 13-year-old Diego, was sucker-punched and critically injured at Landmark Middle School on Sept. 16, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. He was hospitalized for more than a week before being pronounced “clinically dead” on Wednesday. The teen’s family plans to have his organs donated “to transform this tragedy into the gift of life for other children,” a sheriff’s news release stated. Neither teenage suspect has been identified due to their ages, but the Sheriff’s Department confirmed after Diego’s death that both remained in custody at Riverside County Juvenile Hall. The incident, which was filmed by a bystander, prompted outrage in the community, with many students and parents decrying the school’s lack of action to prevent bullying. Classmates told KTLA that Diego had been bullied previously. An already emotional vigil held for Diego at the school on Wednesday night became heated when the crowd spotted Moreno Valley Unified School District Superintendent Martinrex Kedziora, chasing after him and demanding answers. Surrounded by sheriff’s deputies, Kedziora didn’t say a word as he was escorted into the building. “When is it going to stop?” asked Eindah Phillips, a student. “At this point, I don’t even think it’s the students anymore. I think it’s … the district not doing nothing about it.” Other students who spoke with KTLA echoed those concerns, as did parents. “Bullying has happened in this school district for too many years,” said one parent who identified herself only as Margaret. “My son in elementary school. He was bullied.” Margaret told KTLA that nothing was done in that case beyond telling the student to apologize, and that the bullying continued. “The kid was still there and kept it up,” she said. KTLA’s Melissa Pamer contributed to this story. 

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