By JANIE SOUTHARD
A Celina man was arrested Tuesday night after assaulting an
official at the girls basketball game between Fort Recovery
and Celina at Fort Recovery High School.
Randall Canary, 47, 127 E. Fulton St., who was a fan at the
game, was handcuffed after punching referee Jonathan Paul Armstrong,
41, Union City, Ind., and charged with a first degree misdemeanor
assault, according to a Mercer County Sheriff’s report.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of up to six months in
jail and a $1,000 fine.
Armstrong has not been hospitalized, but did receive medical
treatment, Sheriff Jeff Grey said.
At 8:25 p.m. Fort Recovery Police Chief Maggie Hartings requested
assistance at the girls’ basketball game where she thought
there might be trouble, according to the report.
Several witnesses told police Armstrong was walking toward the
locker room after the game when Canary approached him and made
disparaging remarks about Armstrong’s officiating capability.
When Canary leaned into him, Armstrong put up his hands to restrain
Canary and reached for the locker room door, witnesses said.
At that point, Canary punched Armstrong twice in the lower back
rib cage area, according to the report.
Canary posted $200 bond around midnight and was released from
the county jail. Sheriff Grey expects Canary will appear in
municipal court Friday morning. Canary is being represented
by Celina attorney Louis Schiavone.
Grey told The Daily Standard ‘there is no excuse for this
kind of behavior. This was a game for kids to have fun and learn
about teamwork. I can tell you there won’t be any breaks
for (people like Canary). If they can’t behave, they better
just stay home.”
Canary, a public works employee for the city of Celina, also
may face disciplinary action at work.
Mike Sovinski, city safety service director, told the newspaper
Wednesday morning that he is reviewing city policy on such offenses
and then will meet with Canary.
“I anticipate there will be some type of action taken
within the week,” Sovinski said.
Celina City Schools district issued a statement this morning
banning Canary from attending any interscholastic athletic contests.
“The board and administration of Celina City Schools deeply
regrets this incident. The district is continuing its investigation
at this time. The school administration, on behalf of the board
of education, bans Mr. Canary indefinitely from attending any
interscholastic athletic contest in which Celina City Schools
participate regardless of location and/or level of competition,”
the statement said.