Charges upgraded against 2 students in Moreno Valley school attack

Posted: Updated:

Two juveniles suspected in the fatal attack of another student at a California middle school are now facing voluntary manslaughter charges, officials said.

The 13-year-old victim, named Diego, was transported to the hospital following a fight at Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley on Sept. 16.

He was declared clinically dead on Sept. 24, police said.

Cell phone video reportedly showed Diego confronted by a fellow student, who threw a punch at him, according to ABC Los Angeles station KABC. A second student also then reportedly threw a punch at Diego.

The first student then appeared to hit Diego a second time before running away.

According to witnesses, Diego's head struck a pillar during the attack, causing significant injuries, KABC reported.

Shortly after the fight, investigators arrested two juveniles who were also students at the school, police said in a statement last week.

The juveniles, whose names have not been released, were previously charged with assault likely to produce great bodily injury. The charges were upgraded to one count each of voluntary manslaughter in amended petitions filed by prosecutors on Monday, the Riverside County District Attorney's Office told KABC.

The district attorney's office has not returned ABC News' request for comment.

The two suspects were booked into Riverside County Juvenile Hall, police said. No additional details on the case have been released by police.

One of the suspects is expected to appear for a hearing on Wednesday, and the second has a hearing scheduled for Oct. 15, according to KABC.

It's unclear if either suspect has retained legal counsel.

At a press conference last week, school officials expressed their deepest condolences to the family.

"Our community and the Moreno Valley Unified School District family has suffered an immeasurable loss," said Martinrex Kedziora, Moreno Valley Unified School District superintendent. "On behalf of the Board of Education, I want to send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of our beloved student."

Mourners gathered at the school following the announcement of Diego's death. Some wore shirts that read, "Diego strong. Speak up, stop bullying, end violence."

"On behalf of the City Council, I want to extend my sincere condolences to Diego's family and friends. No one should have to endure the pain of such a terrible loss," Moreno Valley Mayor Yxstian Gutierrez said in a statement. "This is a life-changing tragedy for everyone involved, including the staff and students at Landmark Middle School."

Kedziora said additional security has been added at the school since the attack, KABC reported. The superintendent said the incident was under investigation and would not comment.

After being declared brain dead, Diego's family made preparations for his organs to be donated in order to "transform this tragedy into the gift of life for other children," police said at the time.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE