One Jailed, One Hospitalized After School Assault

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A classroom brawl involving at least three students on the morning of Dec. 12 landed one Rim Country Middle School student in juvenile lockup and sent a would-be peacemaker to the hospital.

Police and school officials refused to release key details of the fight that broke out during class hours at the middle school.

Police indicated that one student threw "an object" at another student, setting in motion the chain of events.

When the first two students confronted one another, a third student tried to intervene to prevent a fight, said Payson Police Chief Don Engler. When the boy ultimately charged with assault turned on the peacemaker, the victim tried to walk away from the fight.

"The person who ended up being the suspect in the case was struck by an object thrown by a third party," Engler said. "When the student who ended up being the victim in the incident tried to intervene and defuse the situation, he and the suspect got in an argument, which then escalated to a physical conflict."

Engler said that after the victim realized the situation was escalating, he tried to walk away. But the boy charged with assault then allegedly took out a wallet with a chain attached, wrapped it around the victim's neck and tried to choke him, just as the bell sounded for the class to end, Engler said.

No one else was injured in the incident and a parent of the victim took the would-be peacemaker to the Payson Regional Medical Center with minor injuries, Engler added.

Engler said he had no information on the victim's current condition.

The 14-year-old suspect faces charges of aggravated assault and was taken to the juvenile detention facility in Globe following the incident, he said.

Engler did not release the names of the students.

School officials refused any comment on the issue, saying that any comment on the assault on school grounds amounted to release of confidential educational records.

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