Spectator dies after brawl at middle school basketball game in Vermont
A brawl broke out among spectators at a middle school basketball game in northern Vermont, and a 60-year-old man who participated in the fight died, police said.
State troopers were called to the Alburgh Community Education Center just before 7 p.m. Tuesday after a report of a large fight involving spectators during a seventh- and eighth-grade boys basketball game between Alburgh and St. Albans.
The fight ended before troopers arrived, and many of the participants had left. Russell Giroux, of Alburgh, sought medical attention, police said. He was taken by ambulance to the Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans, where he was pronounced dead.
A viewer sent cell phone video of the alleged incident to CBS affiliate WCAX-TV. The video shows people on the court being tackled, shoved and punched.
Video shows a brawl breaking out between people on the basketball court. https://t.co/tgSFnEL1OS #vt pic.twitter.com/vv2GADJN08
Jay Nichols, the executive director of The Vermont Principals' Association, said in a statement that the group, which oversees school sports in the state, had no information about the event beyond what the authorities provided.
"Although we can not speak specifically about the events at this individual game, we would like to once again emphasize that middle and high school sports are educational and are for the benefit of the student-athletes," he said. "Spectators that cannot behave appropriately can be barred from events and can face criminal charges."
In a message sent to the school community, administrators from the Grand Isle Supervisory Union, which includes Alburgh, said they had arranged for support for students, staff and families.
"Our immediate goal is to remind and educate our students and families that our school culture is one of family, community, and kindness," the message said. "We need our students and community to commit to the positive culture that our school community expects and deserves."
The union added: "We commend the coaches and players of both teams as well as the Alburgh and St. Albans City staff in attendance who supported the students."
The state police and Grand Isle state's attorney's office are investigating Giroux's death. The state medical examiner's office will conduct an autopsy.
Alburgh is a town of about 2,100 in northwestern Vermont. It is surrounded on three sides by Lake Champlain. The northern part of the community forms part of the border with Canada.