Boy, 13, dies over a week after being sucker-punched at California middle school

MORENO VALLEY, Calif. – A 13-year-old boy died nearly 10 days after he was assaulted at a Southern California middle school, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department confirmed Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The boy, identified by officials only as Diego, was sucker-punched during a caught-on-video attack Sept. 16 at Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley, according to KTLA.

He was hospitalized in critical but stable condition,  but “was pronounced clinically dead as a result of injuries sustained in the attack,” officials said in a Facebook post.

Two boys, also 13, were arrested in connection with the assault, which was caught on video and created an uproar in the community. The boys remained in custody in juvenile hall, facing prosecution, officials said. 

“Rigorous medical intervention and treatment efforts at an area hospital were unsuccessful,” sheriff’s officials said in the Facebook page announcing the victim’s death. “The Sheriff’s Department joins the community in mourning the loss of this young man.”

Deputies were called to a fight involving students on the campus about 1:10 p.m. the afternoon of the incident.

Cellphone video that circulated on social media showed Diego being hit in the face by one boy, then sucker-punched on the side of his head by another. The second punch caused him to fall and hit his head against a pillar.

The boy who hit Diego first then hurried over to punch him again while he was on the ground, the video showed. That boy then ran off and the video ended.

Diego was then rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

Classmates told KTLA that Diego had been previously bullied, including on social media. They also indicated violence has been an ongoing problem at the school.

Two days after the attack, hundreds of parents turned out to a meeting with the Moreno Valley Unified School District and expressed anger and uneasiness over how officials handled bullying cases.