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Police investigate attack on referee after basketball game at Georgia church

DeKalb County police said they responded to Stronghold Christian Church, where the referee told officers “he was assaulted by multiple suspects.”

Police are investigating an assault on a referee after a basketball game at a Georgia church that was caught on video.

In a brief statement, the DeKalb County Police Department said it responded to Stronghold Christian Church in Lithonia, about 20 miles east of Atlanta. The referee told officers “he was assaulted by multiple suspects after the basketball game.”

The incident is under investigation, police said. It is not clear who was playing, and it does not appear that the teams were affiliated with any school or registered league, NBC affiliate WXIA of Atlanta reported.

Video posted on social media appears to show the end of a basketball game — a player misses a shot and the buzzer sounds.

A few seconds later, five people on the court can be seen following the referee. They are quickly joined by others, and the group starts taking swings at the referee, who appears to try to defend himself.

The group of about 10 forces the referee to the floor and kicks and punches him, the video appears to show. NBC News has not independently verified the video.

Benjamin Gaither, the senior pastor at Stronghold Christian Church, said the violence was "unfortunate."

"We open our doors to serve our community and our goal is to provide an atmosphere conducive for enjoyment, enrichment, etc," Gaither said in a statement. "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."