Mt. Madonna student arrested after violent fight at GHS

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One juvenile was arrested around 3:15 p.m. Monday after “shoving a victim’s head into the sidewalk multiple times” at Gilroy High School, according to the Gilroy Police Department.

With her foster son, a 16-year-old junior at GHS, doing OK but dealing with a bad headache, foster parent Annie Altamirano said Tuesday she would like to publicly thank the parents who intervened Monday when a student from Mount Madonna Continuation High School attacked her child.

“I can’t comment on that,” said GHS Principal Marco Sanchez, when asked if there have been issues with the juvenile suspect in the past. “But I will say that he’s a former student.”

According to Altamirano, the suspect allegedly became jealous of her son (the victim), who was hanging out with a female friend – also a student at GHS – on Sunday afternoon.

The suspect allegedly told the victim, “I’ll see you tomorrow after school, I’m gonna beat the hell out of you,” said Altamirano.

After instructing her son to bring this to the attention of school authorities immediately on Monday morning, Altamirano said her son notified GHS disciplinarian secretary Wendy Harrington, along with GHS Vice Principal Stefani Garino.

“We instructed our campus supervisors to keep an eye on [the victim], but unfortunately he didn’t follow the game plan,” said Sanchez, who said the victim was told to exit the campus via the back parking lot entrance along Princevalle Street, then get into his sister’s car.

Garino also reiterated, “I told him to call his sister and have her pick him up at the back gate. I explained that if there is going to be any ‘drama’ at GHS in the afternoon, it will be in the front.”

“It was our understanding he was going to do that,” said Sanchez. “But he called his sister and called off the pick-up and decided to go with his friends.”

According to Altamarino, her son did not receive any instruction to exit the school through the back parking lot.

When school got out, Altamirano said the suspect was waiting for her son and immediately began to harass and slander him – despite the fact the victim said he did not want to fight.

At this point, the suspect grabbed the victim, “ripped his backpack off first, got his face and bashed it in to the sidewalk, and then started kicking him,” said Altamirano.

This happened on the front lawn of GHS, near the intersection of 10th and Princevalle Streets, she said.

During this particular time, Sanchez said the yard duty staff member who would have been surveying the area of the fight had adjusted coverage to the science wing, “where we’ve had some non-students trying to access our campus during dismissal,” he explained.

Sanchez also noted yard duty was stretched thin on Monday. Four GHS staff members, who are also campus supervisors, had a mandatory meeting that afternoon. 

In the future, Sanchez said law enforcement would likely be notifed ahead of time when threats such as this arise. The campus officer would have been alerted, but only works Tuesdays through Fridays, according to Sanchez.

As “all evidence points toward this being an assault,” Sanchez said the victim would not be reprimanded.

GPD Sgt. Chad Gallacinao said the assault was reported around 3:06 p.m.

Following the violent tussle, the suspect was found not far from GHS and was arrested for assault with great bodily injury. The victim was taken to Saint Louise Hospital, where he received medical attention for his facial injuries, Gallacinao said.

While Altamirano said she is frustrated by the situation, she wanted to speak up to thank to the parents who “did their job. Without them, who knows what could have happened.”

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