Police Kill Celebrating Red Sox Fan
Friday, October 22, 2004
BOSTON — A college student celebrating the Red Sox (search) come-from-behind victory over the New York Yankees (search) was killed after a police officer called in to control the rowdy crowd shot her in the eye with what was designed to be a non-lethal projectile.
Fifteen other people, including a police officer, suffered minor injuries in Boston's Kenmore Square (search) neighborhood early Thursday, after thousands of baseball fans spilled onto the streets near Fenway Park to celebrate the Red Sox winning the American League pennant at Yankee Stadium.
Victoria Snelgrove, a 21-year-old journalism major at Emerson College, was hit by a projectile fired by an officer on crowd-control duty. Snelgrove, of East Bridgewater, died of a head injury at Brigham and Women's Hospital later in the day.
Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole said officers were using projectiles "designed to break upon impact, dousing the target with (pepper-like) spray."
"While I firmly and emphatically accept responsibilities for any errors," O'Toole said at a news conference Thursday, "I also condemn in the harshest words possible the actions of the punks (Wednesday) night who turned our city's victory into an opportunity for violence and mindless destruction."
O'Toole and Mayor Thomas Menino pledged to fully investigate. Menino said he will seek cooperation from city colleges, bars in the Fenway Park neighborhood and the Boston Red Sox to help prevent future disturbances. He said he would press colleges to expel students found guilty of criminal conduct in the melee.
Rick Snelgrove expressed outrage and said his daughter did nothing wrong. Standing outside the family home, he held up a photograph of his smiling daughter.
"What happened to her should not happen to any American citizen going to any type of game, no matter what," he said. "She loved the Red Sox. She went in to celebrate with friends. She was a bystander. She was out of the way, but she still got shot. Awful things happen to good people. My daughter was an exceptional person."
Early Thursday, several small fires were set 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.
City officials had announced there would be a heavy police presence in Kenmore Square for the history-making victory by the Red Sox, who came back from 3-0 deficit to advance to the World Series.
The city had been caught understaffed when riots broke out after the New England Patriots' Super Bowl win Feb. 1, when one person was killed and another critically injured when a vehicle plowed into a crowd of revelers.
Elsewhere Thursday, 29 people were arrested at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst after revelers threw beer cans and flaming toilet paper at police. And at the university's Dartmouth campus, about 2,000 people had to be dispersed by police using stun grenades.
In New Hampshire, police made about 15 disorderly conduct arrests as crowds swarmed the campus of Plymouth State University and surrounding neighborhoods.
Common sense is a wonderful thing...it's just not common.