Memorial held for referee killed in alleged attack

Posted at 5:06 PM, May 08, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY - As a 17-year-old boy has his first court hearing for allegedly punching a soccer referee, family, friends and community members gathered to say goodbye to the victim.

Ricardo Portillo, known as Ricky, was allegedly punched in the head by a 17-year-old player who was unhappy with receiving a yellow card.

Portillo was hospitalized in critical condition and died Saturday night. A public viewing was held on Wednesday afternoon and a funeral mass is scheduled for Wednesday night.

Bunk Fox, Portiollo's longtime boss, said he lived for his family, children and grandchildren, and for soccer, his other passion.

"Ricky gave more than 100 percent to both our company, the mattress company and refereeing soccer. There wasn't a thing you asked that man to do and he wouldn't do it," Fox said.

Portillo had worked at the Diamond Mattress Company since the mid 1990s, not long after he came to the United States from Mexico.

Family and friends say Portillo's favorite part about refereeing was interacting with the kids and young adults, and call the circumstances of his death a tragedy.

"Yeah, he was like my dad, my second dad and he took him away from us," said Elena Lopez, Portillo's niece.

Portillo's daughter was scheduled to speak with media on Wednesday afternoon, but through a friend, she said she was too emotional and just wanted to spend some time with her dad.

The alleged attacker had his first court appearance on Wednesday. He was charged with homicide by assault. Prosecutors are trying to determine whether he will be charged as an adult.