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Video: 60-y/o man dies after fight at middle school basketball game

Ambulance (Dreamstime/TNS)
February 02, 2023

A 60-year-old man died after taking part in a large fight that erupted at a middle school basketball game in Vermont Tuesday night.

Video posted on social media showed at least two players joining the brawl between numerous adults near the center of the court. The fight broke out around 7 p.m. after a seventh- and eighth-grade game between teams from Alburgh and St. Albans City, local news outlet WCAX reported.

The 60-year-old Russell Giroux, who came from Alburgh to see the game and reportedly took part in the melee, died at a hospital after suffering a medical event while driving home, WCAX reported.

An autopsy was conducted Wednesday, but the cause of Giroux’s death hasn’t yet been clarified, WCAX reported.

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The context of the fight isn’t clear. A referee at the game said he wasn’t sure how or why it started, according to Jay Nichols, executive director of the Vermont Principals’ Association, which oversees high school sports, WCAX reported.

“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.”

Doug Disabito, the state’s attorney in Grand Isle County, suggested legal action could be possible as police collect more footage and learn more about who was there, adding that the incident was “because of adults.”

“When we get the video footage, I would say anybody engaged in that behavior is engaged in disorderly conduct, which is against the law,” he said.

Fans have been banned from attending all home basketball games in the district for the rest of the season, WCAX reported.

In a letter to the community, school district officials said they were “shocked and saddened” by the incident, adding that they “can not ignore the increase in spectator misconduct at school sporting events throughout Vermont, including in our gymnasiums.”