Player Dies After On-Field Brawl at Soccer Game

Police have made one arrest, but the investigation is ongoing
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2022 5:55 PM CDT
Soccer Player Dies 2 Weeks After Fight Over Ref's Call
   (Getty - snowflock)

A 29-year-old California man has died of injuries sustained in a fight over a referee’s call during a recreational soccer game. ABC News says the "massive brawl" broke out around 11am on July 10 at a soccer tournament in Oxnard, a coastal community west of LA. Police and paramedics arrived to find Misael Sanchez lying on the field, unresponsive and not breathing. According to a statement from the Oxnard Police Department, "the fight occurred when the two teams disagreed with a referee’s decision." Sanchez was on the field playing when the fight broke out, and he was “assaulted by multiple assailants,” according to witnesses and police. Spectators were also drawn into the fight, per KEYT.

During the initial investigation, witnesses steered police to one of Sanchez's attackers, later identified as 46-year-old Berlin Jose Melgara, according to CBS News. Police say the suspect attempted to leave the scene but was detained. According to the Ventura County Star, Melgara is thus far charged with felony battery. Sanchez died early Monday morning, and an autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday to determine the exact cause of death. "We were not ready for this type of goodbye," read a message on a GoFundMe page in Sanchez's honor, also per ABC News. The investigation is ongoing, and police are seeking additional witness accounts and video from the game. (Read more soccer violence stories.)

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