Grieving dad blames school bully for sudden death of 12-year-old son

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Dominick Gallegos. Screengrab.

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The parents of a 12-year-old California boy, who died this week during soccer practice at school, say his death was no accident.

Dominick Gallegos collapsed Tuesday after a physical education exercise at Ulysses S. Grant Elementary School in Colton, reported KTLA-TV.  He was pronounced dead at the local hospital where he was rushed and his grieving parents are not satisfied with the explanation given for the tragedy.

School officials told the boy’s father, Joel Gallegos, that his son had lost consciousness after running into another student and falling. But the father, after speaking with his son’s friends at school, believes there was more to the story, according to KTLA.

Gallegos was told by the other students that when Dominick slipped trying to retrieve a soccer ball, another student allegedly kicked him in the chest twice, causing the boy to lose consciousness. The other student was noted for his reputation as a school bully.

“I guess the kid thought he was playing around. He started shaking him to wake up,” Gallegos told KTLA. But Dominick was left on the ground as the school bell rang and students took off.

“I don’t know where the teachers were,” said Gallegos, questioning the lack of supervision. “Someone should have been watching those kids.”

Hundreds gathered for a prayer vigil for the boy, described as fun and friendly by others.

“He was my only son,” Gallegos said, beginning to cry. Dominick was reportedly in good health, having recently had a physical.

According to Colton Police Department Officer Todd Smith, the school’s resource officer, detectives who were sent to the hospital ruled out any type of assault or physical injury.

But, for the grieving parents, the answer is simply not enough.

“This kid did it on purpose,” said Gallegos.

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Frieda Powers

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