Stockton, CA – A fresh-from-boot-camp U.S. Marine has been criticized for breaking up a fight at his high school on Sept. 11 (video below).
U.S. Marine Corps Private First Class Josue Valdez Sarmiento, 18, was touring the campus of his former high school with a U.S. Marine Corps recruiter, Sergeant Sean Colosi, when he saw two boys fighting, according to Stars and Stripes.
“He saw a dangerous fight break out,” U.S. Marine Corps Major Thomas E. Driscoll said in a statement. “We recognize Pfc. Valdez Sarmiento’s desire to do the right thing.”
A student who was filming the fight captured the moment when Valdez Sarmiento used a running tackle to knock both combatants to the ground.
The video showed that the marine did not strike either of the boys after he tackled them, but instead, just sat atop them and prevented them from struggling and further attacking one another.
Then Valdez Sarmiento stood up over the boys, and pulled them apart, effectively separating them.
At that point, the video showed two more adults arrived on the scene to help.
A man with a radio at his waist, presumably a school security monitor, grabbed one of the boys and pulled him to his feet and then walked him over to a golf cart, the video showed.
His mission to break up the fight accomplished, Valdez Sarmiento turned and left, the video showed.
He joined another marine wearing camo pants and combat boots and the two walked away together.
The other man bent over the other student who had been fighting.
The video showed the boy was moving but he hadn’t gotten up yet when the video ended.
The video, posted to social media, quickly went viral and parents complained about the force that Valdez Sarmiento used to break up the fight, WWLP reported.
“He put himself in a position he shouldn’t have and he hurt these two kids. Someone like that shouldn’t be allowed on campus,” parent Mario Patino said.
“This is a grown man that’s extremely well-built,” Patino said. “And from the impact that you see, he took down these two kids with no second thought. He just took them down and hurt them and that’s not okay.”
But Maj. Driscoll, who is the commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, said that neither of the students reported any injuries following the incident, according to Stars and Stripes.
The Stockton Unified School District has launched an investigation into the intervention by the new alumnus of the school.
Valdez Sarmiento graduated from Edison High School in 2019 and went directly into the U.S. Marine Corps.
He was just home from boot camp and on campus to assist in recruiting efforts the day he broke up the fight, WWLP reported.
The U.S. Marine Corps is standing behind Valdez Sarmiento.
“He took action to break up the fight,” U.S. Marine Sergeant Jocelyn Ontiveros said. “He wanted to do what was right for the school and stand up against violence. And he’s been mentored and he’s learned from the situation on how to intervene in the future.”
The Marine Corps said that Valdez Sarmiento had been reassigned to office duty and would not longer be interacting with students, WWLP reported.
Watch the incident in the video below: