California Student, 13, Dies Just Over a Week After Being Punched on Campus by Bullies
A California middle school student died Tuesday after suffering injuries from an on-campus attack last week, officials reported.
According to CBS Los Angeles, the victim — who was identified by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department as only a 13-year-old named Diego — was punched in the face on Sept. 16 by two boys 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 Tuesday evening, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department wrote in a statement.
On Monday night, FOX Los Angeles reported that the two 13-year-old boys involved in the Moreno Valley school attack were arrested. They are currently in the custody of Riverside County Juvenile Hall, the sheriff’s department said, where they will face prosecution for the assault. The sheriff’s department is not releasing the suspects identities, because they are juveniles.
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.”
The school held a candlelit vigil for Diego Wednesday evening, where hundreds gathered to share kind words about their classmate and friend.
“We are here for Diego,” said one girl during the ceremony, CBS Los Angeles said. “Diego lost his life today.”
“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 school district will be holding a meeting Thursday to develop solutions on student safety, according to Moreno Valley Unified School District’s Facebook page.
“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,” read the post.
The Moreno Valley Unified School District did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for aditional comment.
Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to reach out to Investigator Joshua Manjarrez at 951-955-2777, assigned to the Central Homicide Unit or Investigator John Tometich at 951-486-6700, assigned to the Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Station Investigation Bureau.