2 Teens Charged With Manslaughter in Death of Middle School Boy Killed by Sucker Punch
The 13-year-old boy identified only as Diego died a week after the attack
The two teens accused of attacking and killing a fellow student last month have been charged with his death.
On Monday, the two 13-year-old boys, who have not been identified, were charged with voluntary manslaughter for the Sept. 24 death of the their classmate, known only as Diego, the Los Angeles Times, KTLA and ABC7 report.
The teens were already facing charges of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury for the Sept. 16 attack that hospitalized the 13-year-old victim, eventually killing him.
According to authorities, Diego was attacked by the pair at Landmark Middle School, causing him to fall over and hit his head on a concrete pillar. The attack was caught on video by a bystander using a cellphone.
Diego was quickly rushed to a hospital, where he remained for days in critical condition before dying from his injuries, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department wrote in a statement.
“Preparations by Diego’s family are underway for organ donation to transform this tragedy into the gift of life for other children,” the sheriff’s department added.
The teens were taken into custody following the assault. It is unclear whether they remain behind bars at Riverside County Juvenile Hall Thursday. Due to the age of the suspects, authorities are not releasing any additional information.
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Martinrex Kedziora, Moreno Valley Unified School District superintendent, held a press conference on Wednesday where he discussed the tragic news.
“Our community and the Moreno Valley Unified School District family has suffered an immeasurable loss,” Kedziora said, per ABC News. “On behalf of the Board of Education, I want to send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of our beloved student.”
Diego’s death has sparked a heated conversation about bullying at schools.
Shortly after Diego’s death, the school district held a meeting to develop solutions on student safety.
“We want to work with our families to provide a safe and supervised environment with a focus on learning, while still allowing all voices to be heard,” the school district said in a Facebook post.
During a court hearing Wednesday, one of the teen’s attorneys denied the charges his client faced.
“The reality is that no one ever thought that would happen, no one ever wanted it to happen and it’s up to the adults in the room to make sure it doesn’t happen, and they failed,” David Wohl said, according to ABC7, adding that his client was also a victim.
“My client indicates that for two years, he has been the victim of bullying at two different schools, so we do want to see that evidence,” Wohl said.
Prosecutors asked the judge to order the school district to turn over records relating to any prior incidents involving the victim and suspects because the district has refused to do so.
“The school lost control, and the school allowed this culture to fester, and one child is dead because of it,” Wohl said.
In a statement to ABC7, the Moreno Valley Unified School District said, “The issue of bullying and violence is a nationwide concern. MVUSD does not condone bullying nor do our schools maintain a culture of bullying or fighting. Violence is never an acceptable way to resolve problems.”
Wohl, the Riverside District Attorney’s Offie and Moreno Valley Unified School District could not be reached for comment Thursday.