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Mob Brutally Kills Soccer Referee After Player Is Stabbed And Killed In Brazil

Brazilian police have made an arrest in a grisly incident during a soccer match, in which a referee's leveling of a red card penalty set off a clash with a player that resulted in the player's death and ended with the official being brutally killed.

The killings occurred during an amateur game last Sunday, June 30, in Maranhão, a state in Brazil's northeast that is west of Recife.

Authorities say that after referee Octavio da Silva, 20, told player Josenir dos Santos, whose age is being reported as either 30 or 31, that he had been tossed out of a game, the two began an argument that resulted in Silva stabbing Santos on the field.

The blog FOX Soccer describes what police say happened next:
"After witnessing the attack, fans invaded the field to attack the referee, who was stoned to death and quartered. Local news media are also reporting that the spectators decapitated Silva and stuck his head on a stake in the middle of the field."

Police have not confirmed that final detail, but they do say two men were killed that day. They have reportedly arrested Luis Moraes Souza, 27. Investigators are also seeking others involved in the attack on the referee. The scene was captured in cellphone photographs and videos, at least one of which has been posted online.

Security and police officials say they're working to identify members of the crowd and hold them accountable, reports the sports news site Globo Esporte.

Government and sports officials around Brazil are busily preparing for its upcoming duties hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup, as well as the 2016 Summer Olympics, to be based in Rio.

In the United States this past spring, a referee in Utah was allegedly killed by a player's punch after he declared a yellow-card foul in a recreational match.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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