Graphic video obtained from an anonymous source appeared to show several suspects shooting a custodian at Victor Valley High School point blank in the face with a paintball gun and beating him, and authorities said Wednesday that three teens were in custody.
The attack occurred when the custodian was in the school’s swimming pool area at about 8:30 p.m. Monday, said Jodi Miller of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Video showed the custodian, identified later as 65-year-old Jose Benitez, was walking near a fence when he was approached by two people.
He was then shot in the face and lower portion of his body with what was believed to be a paintball gun, Miller said.
As the two attackers ran away, a third person came up to Benitez and knocked him to the ground, the video showed.
“He was just bleeding all over the place … He keeps telling us when he saw the gun, because they looked like real guns, he just thought … ‘this is it,’” the victim’s daughter, Esmeralda Benitez, said.
After the attack, Jose Benitez hid in a nearby room and called 911, Esmerelda Benitez told KTLA.
Two people, believed to be brothers who used to attend the school, were taken into custody Tuesday night, when authorities were still looking for the third attacker.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Sheriff’s Department announced the arrest of three young men, all from Victorville: Tommy Heath, 19; Thomas Heath, 19; and Dewan Marchand, 18.
School officials viewed the video and identified two of the suspects as former students who had been seen on campus earlier in the day and were told to leave, the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release. Search warrants were served on two locations and the trio were found and arrested.
Paintballs and one of the paintball guns that was used in the assault were found during the investigation.
All three were booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and were being held on $50,000 bail at Adelanto Detention Center.
Jose Benitez has worked nights at the school for about 10 years to support his family, according to his daughter, who said the family was “heartbroken” by the attack.
“It’s like the last person to deserve it. … It was just mean,” Esmeralda Benitez said.
It was unclear why the men attacked Jose Benitez, who was taken to the hospital following the incident.
“It makes me angry. What if someone just does this to your dad?” Esmeralda Benitez said.
Jose Benitez has been released from the hospital and was recovering at home, according to his daughter.