According to state police, an altercation between spectators at a middle school basketball game in Vermont resulted in the death of a 60-year-old man. According to Vermont State Police, the fight occurred Tuesday just before 7 o’clock at a school in Alburgh, close to the Canadian border.
State police responded to the Alburgh Community Education Center following the report of a “large fight involving multiple spectators” during a boys middle school basketball game, state police said in a release.
Alburgh school officials confirmed a “physical altercation between multiple adults” attending the game between Alburgh and St. Albans City Schools. The “melee” had ended when troopers arrived, and some of the participants had already left the school, including Russell Giroux, police said.
After seeking medical help, Giroux of Alburgh was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where he was later declared dead, according to the police. State police stated that they are collaborating with the Grand Isle County state’s attorney and that “the circumstances of his death are under active investigation.” To ascertain the cause and manner of his passing, the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington will do an autopsy, according to the police.
Alburgh-based Grand Isle Supervisory Union school administrators described the occurrence as “tragic.” “Reminding and educating our children and families about our school’s culture of kindness, family, and community is our immediate aim.
Our school community expects and deserves a healthy culture, and we need our students and community to commit to it. “In a letter to the school community, the principal Beth Hemingway, the superintendent Michael Clark, and the director of student services Nick DeVita. The staff members from Alburgh and St. Albans City who were present and helped the pupils deserve praise, as do the coaches and players of both teams.
School officials said they had arranged support for students and staff.
The superintendent of Maple Run Unified School District, which includes the opposing school, St. Albans, said the school community is “shocked and saddened” by the death and is also working to support students.
“Since our students observed the altercation, we are working in the next days to support our students and families in dealing with the consequences of the altercation and Mr. Giroux’s death,” Superintendent Bill Kimball said in a statement. “The Maple Run Unified School District condemns the violence during the basketball game. We expect better from our communities.”
The statement said, “The terrible events that led up to Mr. Giroux’s death have forced our schools to examine educational programs and community involvement.” There is “no established information as to what occurred,” according to the Vermont Principals’ Association, which regulates school athletics in the state.
“Although we can not speak specifically about the events at this individual game, we would like to emphasize again that middle and high school sports are educational and are for the benefit of the student-athletes,” Jay Nichols, executive director of the organization, said in a statement. “Spectators who cannot behave appropriately can be barred from events and face criminal charges. We ask all attendees at these events to please behave appropriately.”