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California middle school students accused in fatal attack on 13-year-old classmate formally charged with assault


Two 13-year-old boys have been hit with assault charges after they were recorded shoving and throwing sucker punches at a classmate, who died earlier this week from the injuries he sustained during the brutal confrontation.

Both teen suspects, who have not been identified due to their age, have been in custody at Riverside County Juvenile Hall since Sept. 16, the same day they allegedly attacked a boy outside Landmark Middle School, where they are both also students.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday announced prosecutors filed juvenile petitions against the students on Sept. 18, formally charging them with assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, KTLA reported. The news comes just days after the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the victim, known only as Diego, had been pronounced dead.

“As with any case, should we receive updated information or evidence, we can amend to add, change, or file different charges,” a spokesperson for the District Attorney told the news station.

Cellphone video of the troubling fight, which was shared to social media, shows two boys approaching and then attacking Diego. One of them can be seen hitting him in the face before the other takes a swing at the side of his head.

The impact was enough to make Diego topple backwards and strike his head against a concrete pillar.

Members of the community earlier this week gathered together at the middle school to mourn the tragedy, many of them carrying candles and sporting t-shirts baring their classmate’s name.

“Our community and the Moreno Valley Unified School District family have suffered an immeasurable loss,” Moreno Valley Unified School District Superintendent Martinrex Kedziora told reporters during a press conference Wednesday.

“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 family said they intend to donate his organs “to transform this tragedy into the gift of life for other children.”