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Ricardo Portillo Vigil: Family of Utah soccer referee who died holds candlelight ceremony

Family and friends of Ricardo Portillo hold vigil for him on front lawn of his Utah home on May 5, 2013 after soccer ref in rec league died from injuries suffered when he was  punched in head by angry teen goalie
Family and friends of Ricardo Portillo hold vigil for him on front lawn of his Utah home on May 5, 2013 after soccer ref in rec league died from injuries suffered when he was punched in head by angry teen goalie
KUTV-TV/CBS
(CBS/AP) SALT LAKE CITY -The oldest daughter of Ricardo Portillo, the Utah soccer referee who died Saturday a week after a teenage player punched him in the head, hopes to forgive the young man who did it -- but not yet.

"I will, but not today; it's too soon," said Johana Portillo, 26, speaking Sunday night at a vigil to honor her father. "He was a father, he was a friend, he was a grandfather; he left a whole family behind. They should think before they do something stupid."

Police have accused a 17-year-old player in a recreational soccer league of punching Ricardo Portillo, 46, after he called a foul on him and issued him a yellow card.

Portillo died Saturday night after a week in a coma.

Nearly 100 family members and friends gathered at a candlelight vigil Sunday night on the front lawn of Portillo's Salt Lake City home. Wearing white shirts and holding signs that read, "In loving memory of Ricky," family and friends stood around a table that had a picture of Portillo raising his arms in victory, with flowers and candles surrounding it.

The suspect, whose name is withheld because he's a minor, has been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault. Authorities will consider additional charges since Portillo has died.

An autopsy is planned. No cause of death was released.

Johana Portillo said Sunday she doesn't care what punishment the teenager gets -- saying nothing will bring her father back.

"When he did that, he took a part of me with him," she said, crying. "He took my daddy away from me."

She added: "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."

Pedro Lopez, his brother-in-law and a fellow soccer referee, said the teenager made a mistake and isn't solely to blame. He said he's been involved in soccer his entire life, playing and refereeing, and has seen a troubling trend emerge.

"It's not the ignorance of the child, it's the poor manners of the parents," said Lopez, who played soccer professionally, in Spanish. "The yells and insults from the sideline from the parents make kids more violent."

More on CrimesiderMay 6, 2013 - Utah soccer referee has died after punch from teenager, police say

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