A referee at the game between Impact Christian Academy and Ribault High School on January 5 was attacked, and now other referees said they will not officiate a Impact Christian Academy until the attacker is arrested.
According to a Duval School Board Police report, Michaelangelo Duggins was punched in the face after Ribault beat Impact Christian Academy 58 to 41. The attacker fled in a 2020 Black SUV and was never caught, according to police.
News4JAX reached out to the victim, who had a swollen eye and deep cuts to his head, but the law firm representing him, Pajcic and Pacic said, “Thank you for reaching out regarding the January 5 incident. Our client will not have any comment at this time while everything remains under investigation.”
Basketball officials say they don’t feel safe working games for Impact until the attacker is arrested. Gregory Bing is the commissioner for Southern Association of Basketball officials.
“The officials have opted not (to officiate games) because we know he (the attacker) is associated with the Impact of Christian Academy crowd,” Bing said.
Bing went on to say, “That is so rare for basketball officials to be attacked. And after the pandemic, we’ve lost nearly 50 people and this doesn’t do anything to encourage anyone to continue to officiate basketball.”
Bing believes Impact Christian Academy is withholding information that would help find the attacker. News4JAX talked with Randall Johnson, Executive Director of Operations of Impact Christian Academy. He disagrees with Bing’s opinion.
“Obviously, we are extremely sorry for what happened to that official. There’s no official who referees any game anywhere that should be subjected to the threat of assault or anything like it,” Johnson said. “So we’re appalled by what did happen to him, but we have given every bit of information and assistance that we have at our disposal and available to us.”
It is believed that the attacker was at the game with a parent, and the parent has a player on Impact’s team. However, no one has revealed anyone’s name.
Impact Christian Academy wants to be clear – that it doesn’t know who the person is who attacked the referee at the game.
Regular basketball season is over. If Impact continues into the playoffs Bing insists the officials will not work their games. Impact has says they have another association that will officiate those games.
A detective with Duval Schools Police sent an e-mail to Benjamin Jones, the Dean of Students and Director of Basketball at Impact Christian Academy. The message reads:
Thank you for the phone call yesterday. Regarding the referee being battered on Jan 5th, there is no current information the staff at Impact Christian Academy is withholding information that could be used to solve this important felony case. There is conclusive information that a family directly connected to your organization has information which would solve this case, but they have been unwilling to provide that.
Additionally, with this predatory suspect at large, there is some belief that safety at some sporting events could be in jeopardy.
Anyone with potential information in this case can call me anytime at 904-881-9809.
Duval School Police Detective