STOCKTON, Cal. (KTXL/CNN) – A fight at a school in California came to an abrupt and violent end when a marine tackled the two students involved.
A video shows a Marine, who was on Edison High School’s campus to help with military recruitment, sprinting toward two students throwing punches and tackling the pair to the ground.
“I was upset. It was upsetting to see that someone would do that. I just think it was unnecessary force,” said a parent Mario Patino.
The incident is now at the center of a Stockton Unified School District investigation and has left some parents outraged.
“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 OK.”
Many said there were better ways to break up the conflict.
“An adult should never put their hands on. They’re trained to deal with situations in a different way,” said parent Sarah Savala.
But other parents said the Marine’s actions were justified .
“It could have been a little less of a tackle but I believe in discipline. These kids were not behaving. Someone’s got to stop it,” one parent said.
The U.S. Marines Corps identified the soldier in the video as 18-year-old Josue Valdez Sarmiento, a recent graduate of the high school.
A military spokesperson told KTXL, they’re proud of the Marine for responding to what appeared to be a dangerous situation but note his actions could have been improved.
“He took action to break up the fight,” said U.S. Marine Sgt. Jocelyn Ontiveros. “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 the marine has been reassigned to office duties and will no longer be around students.
“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,” Patino said.
The USMC also said the Marine received counseling but would not reveal further disciplinary action.