13-year-old boy dies just over a week after campus attack at California middle school, authorities say

ByABC7.com staff KABC logo
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Teen dies just over a week after fight at Moreno Valley school
EMBED <>More Videos

A 13-year-old boy has died just over a week after he suffered critical injuries in an incident that resulted in the arrests of two other students on suspicion of assault.

MORENO VALLEY, Calif. -- A 13-year-old boy has died just over a week after he suffered injuries in what authorities said was an on-campus attack by two other students at a Moreno Valley middle school.

The victim, identified only as Diego in a statement from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, was pronounced clinically dead Tuesday evening.

MORE: Moreno Valley parents demand answers after middle school assault

"Preparations by Diego's family are underway for organ donation to transform this tragedy into the gift of life for other children," the news release said.

Prosecutors announced Wednesday juvenile petitions filed against two Moreno Valley middle school students who were allegedly involved in an on-campus fight that turned deadly.

The pair - accused in the brutal beating which was caught on camera by a bystander earlier this month - were charged Sept. 18 with assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, the Riverside County District Attorney's office said. One of the students has an initial hearing scheduled on Oct. 2, and the second has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Oct. 15. Their identities were not disclosed due to their ages.

School officials held a press conference Wednesday.

"Our community and the Moreno Valley Unified School District family has suffered an immeasurable loss," said Martinrex Kedziora, Moreno Valley Unified School District superintendent. "On behalf of the Board of Education, I want to send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of our beloved student."

A throng of mourners gathered outside Landmark Middle School Tuesday night, many clutching candles and some wearing T-shirts emblazoned with a photo of the teen, who has only been identified as Diego.

The shirts read: "Diego strong. Speak up, stop bullying, end violence."

While some in the crowd are demanding change, most were there to show support for Diego and his family.

"Preparations by Diego's family are underway for organ donation to transform this tragedy into the gift of life for other children," a news release stated.

A remembrance ceremony was held at the middle school, with counselors available to speak with students, teachers and community members.

Heartbreaking words were shared by his friends as hundreds gathered outside the school.

Parents have been demanding answers from school administrators in the wake of the attack.

"Kids are being bullied and they're not doing anything," said parent Karla Palumbo. "We've asked them to change the policies, the rules, a little bit more stricter, but that hasn't happened."

At the vigil, an angry group surrounded the school district superintendent -- some calling him a coward -- as he made his way into the school.

Earlier in the day, Kedziora told reporters extra security has been added and instances of violence on campus isn't taken lightly by the school.

When he was asked if Diego's death could have been prevented, Kedziora said the incident was still under investigation and he couldn't comment on it.

"On behalf of the City Council, I want to extend my sincere condolences to Diego's family and friends. No one should have to endure the pain of such a terrible loss," Moreno Valley Mayor Yxstian Gutierrez said in a statement. "This is a life-changing tragedy for everyone involved, including the staff and students at Landmark Middle School."

Parents are asking - what exactly is going to change after Diego's death?

They want more information from the school district about what exactly happened. They also want a plan on how the school is going to crack down on bullies and make sure it's safer for students moving forward.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call sheriff's Investigator Joshua Manjarrez at 951-955-2777.