Report: Melee developed due to unhappiness over referees’ calls
The Vermont State Police investigation into the death of a man who was involved in a fight at a middle-school basketball game Tuesday in Alburgh continued throughout the day Wednesday.
The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy on the deceased, 60-year-old Russell Giroux of Alburgh. The cause and manner of death are listed as pending further investigation, including toxicology testing and ongoing work by the VSP Bureau of Criminal Investigations detectives assigned to the case.
Investigators are continuing to work to determine what prompted the fight at the Alburgh Community Education Center and to understand the roles of the individuals involved. Detectives have learned that Mr. Giroux had left the school and was driving in the direction of his home when he stopped his car and called first responders, who located him in the vehicle and transported him to the hospital, where he died.
Islander community newspaper reporter Michael Donoghue wrote on his Facebook page: “Police said investigators hope to review video footage from the school and from any fans that captured the incident on a cellphone. The fight appears to have developed due to unhappiness with calls made or not made by the basketball referees. There also were reports that at least two boys punched walls and needed medical treatment at the hospital.”
News 5 shows cellphone video of a large group fight occurring on the basketball floor.
A letter from school administrators said “There was a physical altercation between multiple adults in attendance at last night’s Middle School basketball game between Alburgh Community Education Center and St. Albans City Schools,” but offered few other details.
State police have interviewed participants in the brawl and spectators at the game, and collected and reviewed video footage of the melee. Investigators continue to work closely with Grand Isle County State’s Attorney Doug DiSabito.
Detectives are asking that any witnesses to or participants in the fight, attendees of the game, and those with information relevant to the investigation contact the Vermont State Police barracks in St. Albans at 802-524-5993. People also can submit anonymous tips online at https://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.
VSP will continue to provide updates when additional information becomes available.