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Pepper balls fired when fighting students wouldn’t disperse at Moreno Valley middle school, deputies said

Students at Moreno Valley’s Landmark Middle School had to be dispersed with pepper balls fired by sheriff’s deputies called to the campus early Tuesday afternoon to quell a fight among an estimated 50 students, authorities said.
Nineteen students were treated on campus by Cal Fire/Riverside County firefighters for exposure to the irritant, which was fired after the crowd refused orders to break up, Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Robyn Flores said.
There were no students hospitalized at the time she spoke, around 2:30 p.m.  No arrests were reported, but deputies were still on the scene, she added.
The incident was reported to Cal Fire at 12:46 p.m.


The students were being treated on campus by Cal Fire/Riverside County firefighters. Pepper balls are designed to be non-lethal. They release an irritating powder chemical and are normally fired at the ground to break them and set off the chemicals.
It was the second incident of the day that drew law enforcement to Landmark Middle School. Earlier Tuesday, deputies were called to the school when there was a report of a shooting on the campus.
After a check of the grounds and classrooms, deputies declared an all-clear around 11:30 a.m.
Flores said it was not known if the two events were related, or what the cause of the fight was.
Moreno Valley Unified District spokesman Chris Weddle said the school dismissed the students in groups to decrease the chance of them congregating after school. He deferred questions about what started the fight to the Sheriff’s Department.
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Press-Enterprise reporter Brian Rokos contributed to this story
This story is developing, check back later for more details.

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