Sucker punch ends with two students arrested and classmate hospitalized in Moreno Valley


Two students have been arrested in connection with an assault at a Moreno Valley middle school that left another student hospitalized in critical condition Monday.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the grounds of Landmark Middle School about 1 p.m. after a report of a fight, according to a news release from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

A student suffered serious injuries and was taken to a local hospital, where he remained in critical condition Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Department said.


A video showing the attack was posted to Facebook. It shows a boy sucker punching another boy, who is then struck by a third person standing out of frame. The child appears to hit his head on a concrete pillar as he falls to the ground. The assailant who threw the first punch strikes the boy again and then runs away.

The two attackers, both 13-year-old students, were arrested Monday evening, according to the Sheriff’s Department. They were booked into Riverside Juvenile Hall and are expected to be charged with assault likely to produce great bodily injury. Their identities were not released because of their age.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the attack.

The assault is not the first violent incident at Landmark to make headlines this year.

In March, sheriff’s deputies fired pepper balls to break up a fight involving about 50 students. Multiple children were treated for exposure to the irritant, but no serious injuries were reported.

A day after the latest attack, the Sheriff’s Department joined school officials for a staff meeting to give employees updates about the investigation, said Anahi Velasco, public information officer for the Moreno Valley Unified School District.

The school also is offering counseling to students and staffers, she said.


Velasco was unable to say whether the child who is hospitalized had been a target of bullying or whether the school has had past complaints of bullying and referred questions to the Sheriff’s Department.