Southern California schoolyard attack leaves boy in critical condition; 2 teens in custody

A boy attacked in a fight at a Southern California middle school Monday remains in critical condition Tuesday and two 13-year-old boys are under arrest in juvenile custody facing assault charges.

The fight at Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley east of Riverside, happened about 1 p.m. outside the campus’ front doors and was captured on a student’s cell phone video, reported Los Angeles television station KCBS.

A video of the attack posted to Facebook and viewed by The Bee shows the victim standing stock still as he was confronted by a boy outside the school’s main entrance.

The victim took a punch to the face that knocked him backward. As he stumbled, a second boy hit him in the side of the head knocking him into the base of a concrete pillar before he walked away.

The first boy then hit the victim again in the head before he too walked away.

Witnesses told KCBS the student victim was foaming at the mouth, may have suffered a seizure and was having CPR performed on him before he being taken to a local hospital.

Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the two boys accused in the attack Monday evening, sheriff’s officials said in a statement. The Landmark Middle School students, both of Moreno Valley, now face charges of assault likely to cause great bodily injury in Riverside County Juvenile Hall.

Sheriff’s officials declined to release additional information because of the ages of the boys.

Moreno Valley Unified School District said little in a statement provided KCBS, deferring questions about the criminal investigation and the boy’s condition to Riverside County authorities.

District officials in the statement Tuesday morning said they would provide additional information “as soon as we are able,” planned to talk with staff before the school day began and will speak with parents once they have more information.

“The situation is still under investigation, but we would like to be prepared to support the staff in any way that we can,” the statement to KCBS read.

Last week in Stockton, a Marine recruiter brought a controversial end to a brawl between two students at the city’s Edison High School tackling the pair to the ground to break up the fight.

The recruiter’s reaction – and school staffers’ perceived lack of response to the young combatants – are under investigation by Stockton Unified School District officials.

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Darrell Smith covers courts and California news for The Sacramento Bee. He joined The Bee in 2006 and previously worked at newspapers in Palm Springs, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Marysville. A Sacramento Valley native, Smith was born and raised at Beale Air Force Base, near Marysville.