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Man punches ref at Panther Valley tournament, faces charges

Published January 07. 2019 12:20PM

A Lancaster County man faces charges after he punched a referee at a wrestling tournament Saturday in Summit Hill.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by officer Andrew Jones of the Summit Hill Borough Police Department:

Police were dispatched to the Panther Valley Intermediate School at 2:30 p.m. for a reported fight between adults on the wrestling mats during a sports event.

Jones arrived and talked to David Coleman, 37, of Mountville, who said he was watching his son participate in a wrestling match when he noticed his son’s arm in a position where he claims it may become broken.

Jones went down onto the wrestling mats while a match was still active and told the official, “You need to be in position.”

The ref told Coleman get off the mat, which he failed to do.

Coleman then punched him with a closed fist in the center of his chest, and then punched him a second time in the left side of his jaw.

The official denied any medical attention.

Contacted this morning, Kristin Black, athletic director for Panther Valley, said the situation was an “unforeseen circumstance.”

“It should have never happened,” Black said. “It came out of nowhere.”

Black added, “It was not something that was easily seen from standing there watching the match that was going on.”

“It was just the guy came out, didn’t like the call, and that’s what happened,” she said. “The official did finish the match, and also did finish the rest of the day officiating.”

Black said that as circumstances unfolded, they were dealing with another emergency situation that was going on involving an injured athlete on a nearby mat.

“It should not have happened,” she said. “People just need to relax a little bit and just let the officials do their job.”

Black said she wanted to give a “shout out to the other officials there and staff members who helped alleviate the situations going on.”

“There was no melee,” she said. “The incident happened, it was taken care of, police were called.”

Black said there was no stop in wrestling.

“A fan should not act that way,” she said.

Coleman faces charges of assault on sports official, simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct.

He is free in lieu of $50,000 unsecured bail and is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing at 1:45 p.m. Jan. 16 before District Judge Casimir T. Kosciolek of Lansford.

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