A youth basketball game in Georgia turned violent on Sunday when players attacked a referee at a church athletic facility. Police are investigating the incident, which left the referee with "serious" injuries, according to WSBTV.
The fight took place at Stronghold Christian Church in Lithonia, Ga. Witnesses told WSB-TV the teams were gathered for an Amateur Athletic Union game, but an AAU representative said the organization didn't sanction the contest.
The violence started once a buzzer sounded and the teams began clearing the court. What seemed to be three players from one team and another two adults then approached the referee and chased him around the court before repeatedly punching and kicking him.
Video of the entire incident has gone viral (warning: the video contains graphic content).
The referee was reportedly rushed to the hospital after suffering "serious" injuries during the fight. His current condition, along with the legal ramifications for those who attacked him, remain unknown.
"The referee appears outnumbered from the very start," youth basketball development coach Parris Cherry told WSBTV. "I was appalled. It was a very scary video. To see the adults instigate and then the kids follow up to the point where it was the kids who chased down the referee at the end of the video, it's just disgusting. And it seems like there wasn't any adult trying to break it up."
Senior pastor Benjamin Gaither added that it's "unfortunate" the fight broke out at his church.
"It is truly unfortunate about the turn of events that took place during the basketball game held at our facility this weekend," Gaither wrote in a statement on Facebook. "We open our doors to serve our community and our goal is to provide an atmosphere conducive for enjoyment, enrichment, etc. While we can not control people, it is our hope and prayer that those who enter our facility will conduct themselves in the best manner."