Family reaction: Soccer referee punched by player dies

Family reaction: Soccer referee punched by player dies

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – ABC 4 Utah is learning new details about the final moments between the soccer referee and his daughter.
I was like, ‘Daddy are you going to be OK?’ He saw me, he started crying and he said, ‘No’ and then they pulled me out of the room because he started going into shock and that’s the last time I saw him conscious,” -Johana Portillo
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – ABC 4 Utah is learning new details about the final moments between the soccer referee and his daughter.

A 17-year-old soccer player punched the 46-year-old referee Ricardo Portillo in the face April 27 on a field at Eisenhower Junior High School in Taylorsville.

He lapsed into a coma for a week and died May 4 at 9:33 p.m.

His daughter Johana Portillo is opening up about the last words her fathered uttered to her alive.

It was in the Intermountain Medical Center emergency room in Murray with what were believed to be minor injuries.

“When I got to the hospital to the ER I went inside and he was still conscious. I saw him. I hold his hand. He pressed my hand really hard. I was like, ‘Daddy are you going to be OK?’ He saw me, he started crying and he said, ‘No’ and then they pulled me out of the room because he started going into shock and that’s the last time I saw him conscious,” said Johana.

Ricardo Portillo never regained consciousness.

For the first time since his death, his family is speaking out publicly about the 17-year-old player accused of delivering the single fatal punch in retaliation to Ricardo’s call against the player.

“When he did that he took a part of me with him. He took my daddy away from me…I feel sorry for him. I feel for his family, but if he was old enough to do what he did then he’s responsible to pay for it,” Johana said.

She says she doesn’t care what punishment is handed down for her father’s death. She just wants violence during athletic events to stop.

She says her father was attacked on the field 10-years-ago. It left his ribs and leg broken, but his love of soccer drew him back to the field.

ABC 4 Utah’s Noah Bond asked Johana if she forgives the suspect accused of killing her father.

“I will but not today. Not right now. It’s too soon,” she said.

Johana says her only comfort is the lives her father’s death is saving.  He is an organ donor.

His funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

The 17-year-old suspect remains in a juvenile detention center. He is charged with aggravated assault, but now faces more serious charges.

Ricardo leaves behind three daughters, three grandchildren and several siblings.






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