Vermont man dies after brawl during middle school basketball game
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A 60-year-old man died this week shortly after participating in a fight that broke out during a college basketball game, Vermont State Police said Wednesday.
Russell Giroux of Alburgh, Vermont was reportedly transported to a hospital in St. Albans City, Vermont, where he was pronounced dead. According to the VST, his body will be taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington to determine the cause and circumstances of his death.
Police described Giroux as a participant in a scrum which unfolded on Tuesday after participants rushed onto the pitch during a seventh/eighth grade game between Alburgh and St. Albans City. According to the VST, police were called to the Alburgh Community Education Center just before 7pm to “a report of a large scuffle involving several bystanders”. When officers arrived, the fight was over and some of the participants were gone, including Giroux. He then consulted a doctor and an ambulance took him to the hospital.
According to Burlington station WCAX, video of the incident showed at least two players joining the fray, along with more than a dozen adults.
Vermont Principals’ Association executive director Jay Nichols told WCAX that game officials don’t know why the fight started.
“They officiated the game, and the next thing he knew people were on the field hitting each other,” Nichols said. “There was one person who had blood all over their face. They asked a relative to call the police.
Officials from the schools involved shared their dismay at the incident and urged community members to behave better.
“The Maple Run Unified School District condemns the violence that occurred during the basketball game,” said a statement released by the City of St. Albans. “We expect better from our communities. Fighting and violence are totally incompatible with the behaviors we encourage and support. We always seek to foster a positive learning environment at school and at school events for our students. The tragic events that preceded the death of Mr. Giroux led our schools to evaluate school programs and community involvement.
The city of St. Albans added that it was providing supports for students and expressed concern about “a recent spate of spectator misconduct at school sporting events across Vermont.” In one episode, a state school district said it was banning attendees from its boys’ basketball games indefinitely as it investigated an allegation of a “racist word” being uttered against a player, as well than other “negative adult fan interactions”. and high school athletes after spectators allegedly rushed onto the field after a game.
The Grand Isle Supervisory Union said of the Alburgh incident on Wednesday: ‘Our immediate goal is to remind and educate our students and families that our school culture is one of family, community and kindness. We need our students and our community to commit to the positive culture that our school community expects and deserves.
Several law enforcement agencies are investigating the fight and Giroux’s death, and police said they were interested in speaking to anyone with information.