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Youth basketball referee beaten by players and parents in Georgia at church gym

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Brian Linder

pennlive.com

Folks wondering why there might be referee shortages across the country need look no further than a disturbing incident that took place Sunday in Lithonia, Georgia.

According to multiple reports, and from what is apparent from video shared to social media, a basketball game being held in the town at Stronghold Christian Church came to an end when a group of players and parents attacked a referee.

The video shows a buzzer sound to mark the end of a quarter, and as players head to the sideline, another group of players walk onto the court and approach the referee. The referee appears to try to back away from the group before turning and running. The group gives chase, though, and blows are exchanged before the referee is overwhelmed and goes to the floor. Once there, the group appears to repeatedly punch and kick him.

The video can be seen here.

DeKalb County police reportedly said they are investigating after being called to the church for the ref “who advised that he was assaulted by multiple suspects after the basketball game.”

WSB-TV reported that the referee “suffered serious injuries and was rushed to the hospital.”

The church did not organize the event, according to reports, and its leaders called what occurred “unfortunate.”

“We open our doors to serve our community and our goal is to provide an atmosphere conducive for enjoyment,” Dr. Benjamin Gaither, the senior paster at Stronghold, reportedly posted on Facebook. “While we can not control people, it is our hope and prayer that those who enter our facility will conduct themselves in the best manner. Our prayers go out to all those involved in this current situation.”

Police have reportedly not released details about the incident, and the health status of the referee has not been updated since Sunday.

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