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News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)

 

GASTONIA — A contested call on a softball field led a Gaston County man to punch an umpire.

Brooks Wayne Luckadoo, a former police officer with agencies in Gastonia and Bessemer City, admitted that he punched an umpire working a slow-pitch softball tournament game in Alamance County on Saturday after things became heated because he did not like a call on the field.

"Basically what happened is I said a vulgar word and he threw me out for that," Luckadoo said Monday. "I said, 'I can't believe you threw me out for that.' He said, 'You can take your (expletive) back to Gastonia.'"

Luckadoo said he confronted the umpire, identified by Haw River Police as 31-year-old Jonathan Paschal of Burlington, to talk things out. The umpire squared up and raised his arms, according to Luckadoo, who said he felt threatened.

"Once he threw his hand up I took that as a form of assault and I punched him," he said.

Police and Paschal describe the events different than Luckadoo. They both describe Luckadoo as the aggressor after being thrown out of the game.

"Luckadoo then charged Paschal and struck him with a closed fist on the back of the head," Haw River police said in a release Monday.

"I never squared up to get in a fight with him, that's for sure," Paschal said.

Paschal said he went to the hospital after finishing umpiring for the day to check for a possible concussion. He said he was told he did not suffer a concussion.

Luckadoo faces a charge of misdemeanor assault on a sports official.

Umpires and players at the field attempted to get Luckadoo to hang around after the incident for police to arrive, but he instead drove back to Gaston County.

"I'm not going to stay in a volatile situation," he said. "It basically turned into a mob scene. I said, 'Man, I'm leaving. If they want to talk to me they can call me.' "

He received a call later that night asking him to turn himself in. Luckadoo was booked into Gaston County Jail just before 11:30 p.m. Saturday and released on a written promise to appear in court in Alamance County.

Luckadoo said he worked 16 years in law enforcement, but left the field to start his own business. He called the incident a one-time thing.

"I've been a whole lot madder than that at the ball field and never been to the point where punches were thrown," he said.

For his part, Paschal said he'd never witnessed or been involved in a similar altercation during his two years as an umpire.

"I've had people yell at me before, but I've never seen it go that far," he said.

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