During a baseball game at Liberty High School in Kissimmee, Florida, a parent was arrested for allegedly assaulting an umpire on Wednesday. Video footage released by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office shows the parent, identified as Jorge Aponte Gonzalez, walking up to the umpire, Ray Mora, who was standing near a gate, and knocking him to the ground.
Mora, a 63-year-old Army veteran, was waiting for his replacement as he walked to a gate between innings. With his back turned, Gonzalez left the stands and punched him in the head, according to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
“That individual was not even facing me. At least the people who I faced when I was in combat, I saw them. I saw them in the distance. I knew they were coming. I was not even prepared,” he said.
Mora believes that the increasing aggression at sporting events needs to stop. “It needs to stop because I just got hit. Maybe tomorrow somebody gets killed, then what?” he said.
During a press conference, Sheriff Marcos Lopez described Mora as someone who has a passion for baseball and is dedicated to his community. “He loves to give back to his community and to kids,” Lopez said.
Several people on the field can be seen running to Mora’s aid in the video, while others attempt to usher Gonzalez away from the field. Deputies said that during his arrest, Gonzalez claimed he punched the umpire because he was “defending his kid.” However, deputies also reported that the player was being disruptive and had a verbal exchange with the umpire leading up to the incident.
Gonzalez is now facing a felony battery charge. The incident highlights the growing concern over violence at sporting events, and the need for a safe and respectful environment for all players, officials, and spectators.