Soccer ref dead from player’s assault

Published 2:20 am Wednesday, July 2, 2014

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.

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“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.