High school students arrested in beating of elderly man

Five student from a Cupertino high school are behind bars, after an altercation with an elderly male driver turned violent. Santa Clara County sheriff’s investigators say an assault took place near a McDonald’s in Cupertino Tuesday, during the lunch hour. But days later it’s still the buzz at nearby Homestead High School.

“It disappoints me more than it surprises me, to know that kids from my school are harassing people from the community,” said sophomore Keenan Ligeti.

Detectives said five Homestead students were crossing through the intersection of North Stelling and West Homestead Roads, when they got into a argument with a male driver as he passed the intersection.

“He ran into some juveniles that may have been crossing the street and maybe horsing around, and possibly hitting them with his vehicle. So for their safety, he may have said something to the effect of, ‘Hey, be careful. Stop horsing around,’” said Santa Clara County sheriff’s spokesman Mike Low.

That advice was not well received. The victim tells investigators one of the five spat on him, which led to an altercation outside the car.. Eventually, all five students, ages 14-to 17 began beating the 69-year-old victim..

“He was hospitalized, suffering moderate facial injuries that are considered non-life threatening at this time,” said Low.

This type of what investigators call ‘elder abuse’ was easy to spot, since bystanders took, then deleted, video of the melee. County health officials say only one-in-14 cases of elder abuse is ever reported.

“You just hate to see that because it’s an old guy and there’s no reason for that violence to happen,” said Homestead High School senior Israel La Rue.

Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies arrested the five offenders while they were in class at Homestead High. They are now being held in the county Juvenile Detention Center, charged with assault with deadly force, and elder abuse. School district officials say they’ve launched their own investigation into the incident.

“We do want to reassure families that we’re not going to allow any students that would be a danger to student safety the safety of their peers or the safety of our staff on campus,” said Rachel Zlotziver, a spokeswoman for the Fremont Union High School District.

The district isn’t releasing the identity of the students involved, or what possible punishment they may face.