No criminal charges over man’s death after brawl among parents at school basketball game

Five men have received citations months after a 60-year-old man died after a brawl broke out between spectators at a middle school basketball game.

Russell Giroux died on 31 January while driving home after he was involved in a fight at Alburgh Community Education Center, Vermont state police said earlier this year.

Officers responded to deal with the “large fight involving multiple spectators” in the game, but the altercation had already broken up and some of the participants, including Giroux, had already left the gym.

Police said Giroux suffered a cardiac event while driving home and died two hours later at a hospital. After reviewing multiple videos of the incident, investigators have charged five people with simple assault, but they face no criminal charges in Giroux’s death.

“The state police uncovered no evidence to support criminal charges related to the death of Russell Giroux,” a press release by Vermont police read.

Vermont Principals’ Association Executive Director Jay Nichols told WCAX back in February that he spoke to the referee of the game, who told him he wasn’t sure what sparked the altercation.

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

“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,” he said.

In his obituary, Giroux was described as a beloved grandfather and the “glue that held his family together”.