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Father of baseball player arrested for punching 63-year-old umpire, sheriff says

<i>Osceola County Sheriff's Office</i><br/>A man approaches an umpire at a Florida high school game
Osceola County Sheriff's Office
A man approaches an umpire at a Florida high school game

By Sara Smart, CNN

A father has been charged after punching a 63-year-old umpire during a high school baseball game in central Florida, authorities said.

During a game on April 18 at Liberty High School in Kissimmee, the father of a player approached the umpire — a disabled veteran — and “knocked him out” after an argument between the official and a player, Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez said at a news conference Wednesday.

The sucker punch and the umpire’s fall were recorded by surveillance video released by the sheriff’s office. People quickly rush to the spot, with one upset player throwing his helmet as the alleged attacker walks away, it shows.

Jorge Aponte Gonzalez, 41, faces charges of battery on a sports official and disruption of a school function, a sheriff’s office arrest warrant shows.

Gonzalez left the area after he punched the umpire and was arrested Wednesday, more than two weeks after the game, Lopez said. Gonzalez was held on a $1,500 bail and told not to attend any more Liberty games, according to the arrest warrant.

Earlier in the game, umpire Reinaldo Mora had issued an unsportsmanlike conduct warning to the man’s son, the game official told CNN affiliate WKMG.

“I don’t know him. I don’t even know his face,” the umpire said of Gonzalez.

CNN has reached out to Gonzalez and Liberty High School. It wasn’t immediately known if Gonzalez has an attorney.

Gonzalez said during his arrest he was “defending his kid” and showed no remorse, the sheriff said.

This was not Gonzalez’s first time causing a disruption at a game, Lopez said, though his actions had never reached this level.

“You need to teach your kids how to conduct themselves in society, not be disruptive or violent, especially at any type of events like this,” he said.

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CNN’s Phil Gast contributed to this report.

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