Shooting of Victoria Snelgrove

Victoria Snelgrove (October 29, 1982 – October 21, 2004) was an American journalism student at Emerson College. On October 21, 2004, approximately 90 minutes after the Boston Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series, Boston police officer Rochefort Milien shot Snelgrove with an FN 303 blunt trauma / pepper spray projectile. This "crowd-control" bullet 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.[1]

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 Milien on paid leave.[1] 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.[2][3]

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.[4] After the police investigation, Officer 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 12, 2005, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley announced that he would not prosecute any of the officers involved. [2]

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 $10 million lawsuit between FN Herstal and the Snelgrove family was settled.[5]

After her death, Boston Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon said he would have traded back Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS to have her back.[6]

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."

As of 2016, Officer Milien is still on the Boston police force.[7]

In April 2018, a skatepark in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, was opened and named after Snelgrove.[8]

Notes and references


  1. ^ Retrieved October 26, 2005
  2. ^ Commission Investigating the Death of Victoria Snelgrove, page 14. Retrieved April 25, 2009


  1. ^ Associated Press (November 13, 2004). "Red Sox Fan Killed by Stray Shot, Police Say". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ Lavoie, Denise (October 26, 2004). "Hundreds mourn student killed by police during Red Sox celebrations". Associated Press.
  3. ^ MacQuarrie, Brian; Polovina, Julie (October 27, 2004). "A Precious Life, Lost Senselessly, is Mourned". Boston Globe. p. B4.
  4. ^ Farragher, Thomas (October 22, 2004). "O'Toole accepts responsibility but condemns acts of 'punks'". Boston Globe. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  5. ^ Murphy, Shelley (2006-07-14). "Snelgrove family settles lawsuit". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
  6. ^ Hohler, Bob (October 23, 2004). "Pesky Happy to be Back". Boston Globe. p. E5.
  7. ^
  8. ^

Further reading

External links

Kathleen O'Toole

Kathleen M. O'Toole (née Horton; born May 9, 1954) served as the Chief of Police for the Seattle Police Department (SPD) from June 23, 2014, to December 31, 2017. She was the first female commissioner of the Boston Police Department, when appointed by Mayor of Boston Thomas M. Menino in February 2004.

On May 9, 2006, her 52nd birthday, O'Toole officially announced that she was leaving the Boston Police Department to move to Ireland. She was the first Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate, set up to ensure that the resources available to the Garda Síochána are used so as to achieve and maintain the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness in its operation and administration, as measured by reference to the best standards of comparable police services and report to Ireland's Minister for Justice and Equality on changes to improve efficiency in line with best international practice. She then returned to the U.S. and took her position in Seattle.

World Series
Championships (9)
Pennants (14)
Division championships (10)
Wild card berths (7)
Minor league

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