Emerson College student dies after postgame melee
By Associated Press
Thursday, October 21, 2004
BOSTON - A 21-year-old college student died Thursday of a head injury suffered in a clash between police officers and a crowd of Red Sox fans who poured into the streets outside Fenway Park to celebrate their team's victory over the New York Yankees.
Victoria Snelgrove, a 21-year-old journalism major at Emerson College, was among 16 people hurt in the Kenmore Square neighborhood early Thursday morning. She died at Brigham and Women's Hospital later in the day.
Mayor Tom Menino told WBZ-AM that Snelgrove was hit in the head by a ``non-lethal weapon,'' but he did not elaborate. A spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney's office would not confirm media reports that she was shot in the head with a beanbag gun used for crowd control.
A police spokeswoman declined to comment.
A man who answered the phone at the home of Snelgrove's parents in East Bridgewater said the family is ``just too distraught to do anything at the present time.''
The man, who identified himself as a family friend, would not reveal what information the family has been given about the circumstances of Snelgrove's death.
``There have been details given but until a lawyer is consulted I can't say anything more,'' he said.
DA spokesman David Procopio said the office is investigating the incident.
``One factor that is being investigated is whether her injuries were sustained in any way during crowd control measures,'' Procopio said. ``That has not been confirmed or determined yet.''
A police officer was among the others injured in the melee, but none of the other injuries were severe.
Several small fires were set, fireworks shot into the sky, a trash can was thrown at a fast-food restaurant sign and numerous fights broke out. Boston police reported eight arrests, mostly for disorderly conduct, though one arrest was for assault and battery on a police officer.
Procopio said the chaotic scene would make it hard to determine exactly how Snelgrove was injured.
``This is an area where there were many people gathered,'' he said. ``Detectives are identifying and interviewing people who may have information as well as analyzing evidence collected from the scene ... we need to develop more information to get a clearer picture of the facts and circumstances.''
Beanbag guns, which shoot a fabric bag filled with lead shot, are widely used by police to disperse unruly crowds.
A Menino spokesman said the mayor's ``heart goes out to the family.''
David Rosen, a spokesman for Emerson College, said school officials were unsure how Snelgrove died.
``There are several different accounts of how it happened,'' he said. ``I'm sure the police and the city will conduct a full investigation, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how it happened. It's a great personal tragedy for this individual, her family and her many friends here at the college. We'll mourn her death no matter how it happened.''
Rosen said a memorial service was being planned and grief counselors would be on hand to help students deal with Snelgrove's death.