Boy, 12, charged after mother tells him to join babysitter attack, police say

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A 12-year-old boy was charged with assault after police said he followed his mother’s instructions to join in an attack on his babysitters.

City police said Jose Rivera, Latasha Twyman, and her 12 year-old son were armed with a baseball bat and red with anger Friday when they rolled up to a couple’s home in the 2000 block of Zarker Street.

Police said the victims, a 25-year-old man and 31-year-old woman, watched the boy earlier during the day. While investigators would not say what specifically happened, the parents were upset with how the couple treated the boy.

Around 10:45 Friday night, police responded to Harrisburg Hospital to find the beaten couple suffering from broken bones.

Police said Rivera used a baseball bat to strike the 25-year-old man several times, beating him to the ground. That’s when police said Twyman jumped in and began punching and kicking the man. At some point, police said Twyman told her 12-year-old son to pick up a shovel and join in the beating.

One neighbor said he heard commotion but did not want to get involved. Another neighbor said they did not hear the fight, but saw police investigating later that night.

Leonard Middleton said he was sitting on his porch at the time and wondered what had happened.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with parents today,” he said. “Just gotta be more careful.”

Police charged Rivera, Twyman, and the 12-year-old boy with assault.

Middleton was stunned when he heard about this and began shaking his head.

“If the parents want to do it that’s fine,” he said, “but don’t get the kids involved.”

In early June, a video of two women fighting inside a Beech Grove, Indiana Wal-Mart gained national attention. In the video, a woman involved in the fight told her 6-year-old son to punch the woman in the face.

According to affiliate reports, the mother was charged with a misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and a felony count of neglect of a dependent.

At age 12, some neighbors wondered if the boy should face penalties if he was doing what his mom told him to do. It is unclear what may have happened to the boy that invoked his mother to resolve the conflict with violence, police said. Middleton said the larger problem stems with how the majority of younger people view parenting these days.

“A lot of these young parents, a lot of them want to be friends instead of parents,” he said. “You can’t be friends with your kids. Parents first, friends second.”

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