Taylorsville, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Thursday night, instead of leaving for a long planned vacation, a Utah family is grieving. The Portillo family's life was turned upside down last Saturday when their father, a soccer referee, was hit by a player. He's now at intermountain medical center clinging to life, and his daughters want justice.
Johana Portillo and her two sisters are simply heartbroken.
"This person caused us a lot of pain," she said.
That person is a 17 year old who police said, out of anger, took a swing at Ricardo Portillo. Ricardo is now in the hospital with a brain injury.
"I think that we have a good idea what's going on with him we're just really limited on what we can talk about," said Dr. Shawn smith.
Ricardo’s doctors are limited because of an ongoing criminal investigation. Unified police said Ricardo Portillo was a refereeing at a soccer field in Taylorsville last Saturday, when he made a call that a player didn't like. The teen took just one swing, and Ricardo went down.
Johana said her father had been hurt on the field before, so she didn't think much of the injury.
"last Saturday when we got called we thought it wasn't that serious, we thought ok, they're going to call and we'll have to go get him out again and he's going to be ok, but it wasn't like that," she said.
Ricardo is now unresponsive in critical condition. His daughters fear he won't make it. A thought that evokes not only sadness, but anger.
"It’s just not fair. We're all there to have fun not go and kill each other," Johana said.
She also said soccer was her father's great passion, but he never thought he might lose his life over it. Now, Johana just wants one thing, justice.
"If he spends time in jail, like forever, it's not enough, it won't bring my daddy back. But I just don't want him to get out and do it again. I don't want him to hurt people and I don't want other families to go through the same pain as we are right now," she said.
It’s a pain the Portillo family feels is senseless.
Unfortunately, Johana said this type of violence happens all too often on the soccer field. She hopes after her father’s tragedy, people will understand these refs are just doing their job, and deserve respect.
Criminal charges have been filed against the 17 year old suspect. Because he is a minor, police cannot release his name. He remains in the salt lake county jail.