Man dies after fight at kid's basketball game

basketball court
Photo credit Getty Images

A Vermont man is dead following a fight at a middle school basketball game.

Russell Giroux, 60, died Tuesday after he was taken to a hospital, according to Vermont State Police. His cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy.

Authorities said Giroux was among the spectators involved in a brawl that broke out during a boys basketball game.

"State police were called at 6:56 p.m. to the Alburgh Community Education Center, 45 Champlain St., for a report of a large fight involving multiple spectators during a 7th-8th grade boys basketball game between Alburgh and St. Albans," police said in a statement. "The melee ended before troopers arrived on scene and some participants had departed the school."

Giroux was among those who left. He was on his way home when he sought medical attention and called for an ambulance, police said. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

"The circumstances of his death are under active investigation," police said.

Although authorities haven't released details of the brawl, video taken by a witness shows several people on the basketball court, throwing punches and tackling each other.

A witness told WPTZ the fight started after some spectators made comments about a referee call.

Grand Isle State's Attorney Doug Disabito said those involved in the fight could face criminal charges.

"When we get the video footage, I would say anybody engaged in that behavior is engaged in disorderly conduct, which is against the law," Disabito told WCAX.

The executive director of the Vermont Principals' Association, which oversees school sports, said spectating at a game is a privilege, not a right -- and anyone involved in the fight could be banned from future events.

"Spectators have an obligation to behave appropriately. Student-athletes are participating in these contests. It’s for educational purposes, it’s not for adult entertainment," Jay Nichols told WCAX. "We ask all attendees at these events to please behave in an appropriate manner. And if they can't do so, not only can they be barred from the event, but they can also face criminal charges."

The Grand Isle Supervisory Union School District said it would make resources available to help families and staff to discuss violence with students.

"Our immediate goal is to remind and educate our students and families that our school culture is one of family, community, and kindness," the district said in a statement. "We need our students and community to commit to the positive culture that our school community expects and deserves."

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images