A 60-year-old man died following a fight that broke out Tuesday night in the town of Alborg during a middle school basketball game, Vermont State Police said in a statement Wednesday.
Russell Giraud was taken by ambulance to Northwestern Medical Center in St Albans, where he was pronounced dead.
“The circumstances of his death are under investigation,” the statement said.
“Mr. Gero’s body will be brought to the office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington for an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of his death,” the statement added.
The VST statement indicated that Giroux was involved in a large fight involving several spectators during a 7th-8th grade boys’ basketball game between Alburgh and St. Louis. The burgh is about one hour north of Burlington.
Soldiers were called at about 7 pm to the Alberg Community Education Center. By the time they arrived, the VST said, the altercation had ended and some of the participants had left the school.
“This investigation is in its early stages and members of the Vermont State Police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Field Force Division and the Victim Services Unit are involved,” VST added.
“The state police are working with Grand Isle County State Attorney Doug DeSapito on this case.”
According to CNN affiliate WCAX, Grand Isle state attorney Doug DeSapito said police are gathering video footage and information about who was there.
“In some ways, I am at a loss for words. This should never happen,” Desapito said, according to WCAX.
“Very sad. This is because of the adults and I are sad for my community.”
School officials issued statements on Wednesday expressing their shock at Jiro’s death and condemning the violence that took place.
“The Maple Run Unified School District condemns the violence that occurred during the basketball game,” the Maple Run Unified School District said in a statement Wednesday.
“We expect better from our communities. Fighting and violence are not entirely compatible with the behaviors we encourage and support.
“We always strive to promote a positive learning environment at school and at school events for our students.
“The tragic events leading up to Mr. Gero’s death prompted our schools to evaluate school programs and community involvement.”
The district said it has reported the incident to school staff and is working to support students and families, “to deal with the consequences of the altercation and the death of Mr. Gero.”
The district said it is urging the education agency and the Vermont State Administrators Association to consider how best to respond to unruly bystanders after a series of bad behavior.
In a letter to the Alburgh community on Wednesday, the Grand Isle Stewardship Union said its “immediate goal is to remind and educate our students and families that our school culture is one of family, community and kindness.”
“In order to best support the students and staff of the Alburgh Community Education Center, GISU has arranged additional support, if required, with our regional partners to be available throughout the day.”