Death of Victoria Snelgrove
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Victoria Snelgrove (October 29, 1982 – October 21, 2004) was a junior majoring in journalism at Emerson College. She had transferred from Fitchburg State College in the fall of 2003. She was hit with a crowd-control round and mortally wounded by Boston police officer Rochefort Milien on October 21, 2004 when she was eight days away from her 22nd birthday. This was about 90 minutes after the Boston Red Sox's victory over the New York Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series.
The incident occurred near Fenway Park when an FN 303 blunt trauma / pepper spray projectile hit her eye, causing her to bleed excessively. Ambulances were blocked by the excessive crowds, which still refused to clear the area, preventing prompt medical attention from arriving from the dense medical area only a half-mile away.
Snelgrove died at 12:50 p.m. EDT at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, about 12 hours after being shot. According to the autopsy, the pellet opened a three-quarter-inch hole in the bone behind the eye, broke into nine pieces, and damaged the right side of her brain.
Boston Police Department Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole placed Rochefort Milien, the police officer who fired the shot that killed Victoria Snelgrove, on paid leave. O'Toole later attended the hour-long funeral on October 26, 2004 at St. John's Catholic church in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts along with Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Gov. Mitt Romney.
The investigation and aftermath
The investigation into Snelgrove's death was led by former U.S. Attorney Donald K. Stern best known for prosecuting mob figures, including fugitive Winter Hill Gang leader James "Whitey" Bulger. O'Toole accepted the department's responsibility, yet still blamed the "punks" who turned the event into a near-riot as the real cause. After the police investigation, Officer Rochefort Milien was identified as the person who actually fired the shot that killed Snelgrove. On May 2, 2005, the city of Boston announced a $5.1 million wrongful death settlement for her family's lawsuit.
On September 16, 2005, O'Toole demoted the police superintendent who was in charge the night of the shooting to captain and suspended two officers. She also issued written reprimands to two other officers. Milien agreed to accept a 45-day suspension without pay. The deputy superintendent outside Fenway Park at the time of the incident was also criticized for poor decisions that led to Snelgrove's death, but had already retired.
The weapon that killed Snelgrove was manufactured by Fabrique Nationale de Herstal (FN Herstal). Because of the incident, several police forces, such as the Seattle Police Department, discontinued use of this weapon.
In July 2006, a $10M lawsuit between FN Herstal and the Snelgrove family was settled.
Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan dedicated their book, Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle The Historic 2004 Season to Snelgrove. The dedication reads simply : "For Victoria Snelgrove / Red Sox fan."
- ^ http://www.mass.gov/da/suffolk/docs/091205.html Retrieved October 26, 2005
- ^ Commission Investigating the Death of Victoria Snelgrove, page 14. Retrieved April 25, 2009
- Crowd-control gun's accuracy is questioned
- news story on city settling lawsuit[dead link]
- Associated Press (November 13, 2004). "Red Sox Fan Killed by Stray Shot, Police Say". Los Angeles Times.
- Lavoie, Denise (October 26, 2004). "Hundreds mourn student killed by police during Red Sox celebrations". Associated Press.
- MacQuarrie, Brian; Polovina, Julie (October 27, 2004). "A Precious Life, Lost Senselessly, is Mourned". Boston Globe. p. B4.
- Farragher, Thomas (October 22, 2004). "O'Toole accepts responsibility but condemns acts of 'punks'". boston.com. Boston Globe. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
- Murphy, Shelley (2006-07-14). "Snelgrove family settles lawsuit". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
- Hohler, Bob (October 23, 2004). "Pesky Happy to be Back". Boston Globe. p. E5.
- "Boston police accept 'full responsibility' in death of Red Sox fan", CNN. October 22, 2004.
- Hundreds Mourn Student Killed by Police Pellet
- Seattle Suspends Pepper Gun Used in Boston Death
- Violence Denounced in Eulogy for College Student
- Emerson press covers the release of the Stern Commission
- "Video clip records fatal Fenway shooting", Boston Globe. November 13, 2004.
- In Snelgrove files, officers recount night of chaos, The Boston Globe, September 21, 2005
- When You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail from Boston Dirt Dogs a Red Sox Nation website
- Victoria Snelgrove Memorial Fund