Utah soccer referee has died after punch from teenager, police say

Ricardo Portillo

(CBS/AP) SALT LAKE CITY - Ricardo Portillo, a 46-year-old Salt Lake City soccer referee, has died a week after a teenage player punched him in the face, police say.

Police have accused a 17-year-old player in a recreational soccer league of punching Portillo after he called a foul on the teen and issued him a yellow card during a game at Eisenhower Junior High School in Taylorsville, Utah.

Police said they will consider additional charges now that the victim has died.

The teenager, heavier than Portillo, allegedly began arguing with the referee, and then punched him in the face. Police said Portillo seemed fine at first, and then asked to be held because he felt dizzy. He sat down and started vomiting blood, triggering his friend to call an ambulance, according to authorities.

When Portillo arrived to the hospital, he slipped into a coma with swelling in his brain.

Portillo died on Saturday after a week in a coma. Nearly 100 family members and friends reportedly gathered at a candlelight vigil Sunday night on the front Lawn of his Salt Lake City home.

The minor accused of Portillo's death, whose name has been withheld, has been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault, police said.

An autopsy is pending and no cause of death has been released.

Complete coverage of Utah soccer referee case

  • Iris Carreras

    Iris Carreras covers crime for