13-year-old charged in attack on mom, teen in New Jersey

Wednesday, June 26, 2019
13-year-old charged in attack on mom, teen in New Jersey
Toni Yates has the latest on the attack on mother and teen in New Jersey.

PASSAIC, N.J. -- A 13-year-old boy is under arrest, accused of attacking a mother and her teenage son as they walked home from school with the woman's 1-year-old daughter in a stroller in New Jersey last week.

Authorities said the assault occurred around 5 p.m. on June 19, on Lexington Avenue near the intersection with Monroe Street in Passaic.

"My son, he can't sleep, and I don't sleep," Beronica Ruiz said. "Because I am very worried."

Ruiz and her 12-year-old son were walking with the stroller when the juvenile suspect approached them.

Police said when Ruiz stepped in front of the teen, he struck her, causing her to temporarily lose consciousness and fall to the sidewalk.

"I told the guy, 'Stop, don't bother my son,'" she said. "And the child said to me, 'shut up,' and punched me."

The mother of three was left with fractures in her face, a bruised and bloodshot eye, and crippling emotional trauma.

The suspect also allegedly struck the woman's son in the face.

Beronica Ruiz suffered serious injuries in the attack.

The family claims that the incident stemmed from hate and bullying. They said the suspect followed them after school and attacked - all because they are of Mexican descent.

"They said that all Mexicans should be behind the wall," dad Alfonso Ruiz said. "And my son's answer was, 'What are you talking about? We are immigrants.' He's American. He was born here."

They are also angry at school officials, after they said they were not warned earlier of the threats against their son. They are also upset that a day after the attack, the suspect was back in school.

They believe the school district did not take the incident seriously enough, and there is a resounding message about children and hate.

"We're just talking about respect, just treat people with respect," family attorney Daniel Santiago said. "They deserve it. Not because of who or what they are, but because they're human beings. And humanity has to be better."

The suspect was charged with one count each of aggravated assault and simple assault, and he was released to his parents pending an appearance in the Family Court.