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Vermont man dies after brawl during middle school basketball game

The Washington Post

Des Bieler
Thu, February 2, 2023 at 4:19 AM CST·3 min read

A 60-year-old man died this week shortly after participating in a brawl that broke out during a middle school basketball game, Vermont State Police said Wednesday.

Russell Giroux of Alburgh, Vt., was said to have been brought to a hospital in St. Albans City, Vt., where he was pronounced dead. According to the VST, his body will be brought to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington to determine the cause and manner of his death.

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Police described Giroux as a participant in a melee that unfolded Tuesday after attendees rushed the court during a seventh-/eighth-grade game between Alburgh and St. Albans City. Per the VST, police were called to the Alburgh Community Education Center just before 7 p.m. for “a report of a large fight involving multiple spectators.” When officers arrived, the fight had ended and some of the participants had left, including Giroux. He subsequently sought medical attention, and an ambulance took him to the hospital.

According to Burlington station WCAX, video of the incident showed at least two players joining in the melee, along with more than a dozen adults.

The executive director of the Vermont Principals’ Association, Jay Nichols, told WCAX that game officials were not sure why the fight started.

“They were reffing the game, and the next thing he knew people were out on the court punching each other,” Nichols said. “There was one person that had blood all over their face. They got a parent to call the police.”

Officials with the schools involved shared their dismay over the incident and urged better behavior from community members.

“The Maple Run Unified School District condemns the violence that occurred during the basketball game,” a statement issued by St. Albans City said. “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.”

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