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Vermont Police Say A ‘Melee’ Broke Out During A Middle School Basketball Game. Now, A 60-Year-Old Man Is Dead.

basketball incident
Source: UNSPLASH

Feb. 2 2023, Published 12:10 p.m. ET

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A 60-year-old man is dead after he was involved in a fight that erupted among multiple spectators during a middle school boys basketball game, the Vermont State Police said.

Shortly before 7 p.m. on Jan. 31, officers responded to the report of a brawl at Alburgh Community Education Center during a 7th- and 8th-grade game.

“The melee ended before troopers arrived on scene, and some participants had departed the school,” Vermont State Police said.

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An individual police said participated in the fight, Russell Giroux, 60, of Alburgh, was transported to Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans, where he was pronounced dead.

According to officials, the circumstances of Giroux’s death are currently under investigation and an autopsy is pending.

Jay Nichols, the executive director of the Vermont Principals’ Association, told Burlington station WCAX a game official was refereeing when “the next thing he knew people were out on the court punching each other.”

“There was one person that had blood all over their face,” Nichols said.

A video obtained by WCAX shows at least a dozen adults and two players either punching or pulling participants from each other during the violent altercation.

Authorities are still investigating why the fight broke out.

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“In some respects, I’m at a loss for words. This should never happen,” Grand Isle State’s Attorney Doug Disabito said., calling the incident “very sad.”

“And it’s because of adults and I’m sad for my community,” he added.

St. Albans City School released a statement following the incident, saying the community was “shocked and saddened” and the school district “condemns the violence” that occurred at the game. “We expect better from our communities. Fighting and violence are wholly inconsistent with the behaviors we encourage and support. We always seek to foster a positive learning environment in school and at school events for our students. The tragic events that preceded Mr. Giroux’s death have caused our schools to evaluate school programs and community involvement.”

Anyone with information about this incident, including those involved in the fight at the Alburgh school, should contact Detective Trooper Michael Mattuchio at the St. Albans Barracks at (802) 524-5993, or leave an anonymous tip online.

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