A 60-year-old man has died following a brawl that broke out Tuesday night in the town of Alburgh during a college basketball game, Vermont State Police (VST) said Wednesday in a statement.
Russell Giroux was taken by ambulance to Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans where he was pronounced dead, VST said.
“The circumstances of his death are under active investigation,” the statement said.
“Mr. Giroux’s body will be brought to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for an autopsy to determine the cause and circumstances of his death,” he added.
VST’s statement said Giroux was involved in a large fight involving multiple spectators during a Grade 7-8 boys’ basketball game between Alburgh and St. Albans. Alburgh is located about an hour north of Burlington.
The soldiers were called at around 7 p.m. to the Alburgh Community Education Centre. By the time they arrived, the fight was over and some of the participants had left the school, VST said.
“This investigation is in its early stages and involves members of the Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Field Force Division and Victim Services Unit,” VST added.
“State Police are working with Grand Isle County State’s Attorney Doug DiSabito on this case.”
According to CNN affiliate WCAX, Grand Isle State’s Attorney Doug DiSabito said police were gathering video footage and information about who was there.
“In some ways, I am at a loss for words. It should never happen,” DiSabito said, according to WCAX.
“Very sad. And it’s because of the adults and I’m sad for my community.
School officials released statements on Wednesday expressing their shock at Giroux’s death and condemning the violence that took place.
“The Maple Run Unified School District condemns the violence that occurred during the basketball game,” the Maple Run Unified School District said in a statement Wednesday.
“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 district said it informed school staff of the incident and is working to support students and families, “to deal with the aftermath of Mr. Giroux’s altercation and death.”
The district said it urges the Education Agency and the Vermont Principal’s Association to consider how best to respond to unruly spectators following a series of misbehaviors.
In a letter to the Alburgh community on Wednesday, the Grand Isle Supervisory Union said its “immediate objective is to remind and educate our students and families that our school culture is one of family, community and kindness”.
“In order to best support the students and staff at the Alburgh Community Education Centre, GISU has arranged additional support, if needed, with our regional partners to be available throughout the day.”