Vicious punch from young player kills Utah soccer referee

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Salt Lake City, UT, United States (4E Sports) – A youth soccer referee, who was viciously punched in the head by a 17-year-old player, died Saturday after a week in coma.

In a press statement, the Unified Police Department said 46-year-old Ricardo Portillo died around 9:33 p.m. at Intermountain Medical Center. An autopsy will be conducted.

The police said the 17-year-old boy accused of punching Portillo remains in a juvenile detention facility but has not been charged with any crime.

However, police said formal charges will be screened early next week with the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office.

“Since Portillo has passed away additional charges will be screened in connection with his death,” the statement said.

A police report said the incident happened April 27 at a youth match at Eisenhower Junior High School in Taylorville. As players jostled for position, Portillo saw the suspect – a goalkeeper — push an opponent with his hands.

Portillo issued a yellow card to the suspect and began writing the infraction in his official’s notebook.

After that, the suspect punched the referee on the head. Feeling dizzy, Portillo sat down and began vomiting blood, according to police officer Jason Huggard in his report.

“He was laying on the ground, on his left side in a fetal position,” Huggard said. “Ricardo was complaining of pain in his face, back and [of] being nauseated. He had spit up a small amount of blood in his saliva.”

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