Beech Island man arrested in soccer referee's assault

Zuniga

Columbia County authorities arrested a Beech Island man in connection with the assault of a soccer referee this month at Patriots Park.

Johnny Alberto Zuniga, 44, of Atomic Road, was charged Friday with a misdemeanor count of battery against a sports official, according to his arrest report.

At an Augusta Amateur Soccer League match July 8, a referee called a penalty on Zuniga, who responded by stepping on him and kicking his shins, authorities said.

When the official tried twice to give him a red card, Zuniga grabbed the referee’s neck and tried to choke him, according to a Columbia County incident report.

The referee, who coughed up blood, sought medical attention at a hospital.

Zuniga, a citizen of Costa Rica, could face a maximum of 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine, Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said in an e-mail.

Zuniga was released from the Columbia County Detention Center on July 21 after posting a $1,100 bond, according to a jailer.

Morris said the sheriff’s office was required by law to notify the consulate of Costa Rica, but Zuniga likely will not face deportation.

Zuniga has been banned from the Augusta Amateur Soccer League and from participating in any Columbia County leagues.

News-Times: Alleged attacker banned from soccer league

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