Angry player punches referee, killing him

An undated photo provided by the Livonia Police Department is of Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad. Saad, a Detroit-area soccer player who police say critically injured a referee by punching him during a match Sunday June 29, 2014, has surrendered to face a felony assault charge. (AP Photo/Livonia Police Department)

DETROIT (AP) — A man who was punched while refereeing an adult-league soccer match died Tuesday, a hospital spokesman and the referee’s longtime friend said.

Detroit Receiving Hospital spokesman Alton Gunn, and friend and attorney Jim Acho confirmed then death of John Bieniewicz, who was attacked Sunday at a park in Livonia.

Bieniewicz was a dialysis technician at Mott Children’s Hospital who lived in Westland with his wife and two sons, said Acho, who was a classmate of Bieniewicz’s at Catholic Central High School.

“His friends love him. He lives life to the fullest. Never has a bad day. Ever,” Acho said.

Livonia police said Bieniewicz was punched after indicating he would eject a player from the game at Mies Park. A 36-year-old Dearborn man is charged in the attack.

Acho said a fund is being set up to help pay for his friend’s funeral and burial expenses as well as his children’s futures.

Bieniewicz was a soccer referee for two decades.

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