Update: Initial autopsy results released Wednesday in the death of a New England Patriots fan who collapsed after a fight with a Miami Dolphins fan at Gillette Stadium identified a “medical issue” and suggest that he did not die from “traumatic injury,” Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said. Read the latest here.
A New Hampshire man who was fatally injured during Sunday’s New England Patriots game at Gillette Stadium collapsed after being punched twice in the head by a Miami Dolphins fan, a witness said Tuesday.
In the fourth quarter of the game, Joey Kilmartin said he saw the victim, Dale Mooney, 53, of Newmarket, N.H., move over one section to confront a man wearing a Dolphins jersey. The two men had been verbally sparring for most of the game, Kilmartin said.
“In a nutshell, it was a basic argument back and forth,” Kilmartin said in a telephone interview. “[Mooney] went over to Section 311 and he basically engaged in mutual combat with another fan. A lot of people started trying to pull them apart. ... It looked like somebody was in the middle of them and then a man in the Dolphins jersey reached over and he connected with two punches to the victim’s head.”
“It wasn’t something crazy or out of the ordinary until, 30 seconds later, the guy wasn’t getting up,” he said.
Kilmartin, who lives in New Hampshire, said Mooney fell backward and did not move even when first responders arrived and provided first aid, including the use of a defibrillator.
“The way he slumped over, a lot of people knew he wasn’t OK,” Kilmartin said.
He described the man in the Dolphins jersey as in his 30s with a salt-and-pepper beard. When police arrived, they escorted him away.
No charges have been filed, according to Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s office. The incident is under investigation and the state medical examiner’s office will conduct an autopsy, perhaps as soon as Tuesday, a spokesperson for Morrissey said.
Kilmartin said he and Mooney, whom he did not know, were sitting in Section 310 while the man wearing the Dolphins jersey was in Section 311. Kilmartin said he didn’t pay much attention to what the men were saying to each other but noticed when Mooney went over because other people in the crowd reacted.
The fight broke out shortly before 11 p.m., authorities said. Mooney was rushed to Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, where he was pronounced dead.
In a brief telephone conversation Tuesday, Mooney’s wife, Joy Mooney, declined to discuss the circumstances of her husband’s death. She has told other news outlets she doubted that her husband had instigated the fight.
Kilmartin said he videotaped parts of the fight but was not providing it to news outlets out of respect for Mooney’s family. He said he has provided it to law enforcement and has been interviewed by Foxborough police.
“It was terrible,’' he said of the fatal confrontation. “It’s definitely what you don’t want to see at a football game.”
Gillette Stadium officials issued a statement Tuesday afternoon on Mooney’s death.
“We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic passing of Dale Mooney, a lifelong Patriots fan and 30-year season ticket member, who died while attending last Sunday night’s Patriots game,” stadium officials said. “We continue to work with local authorities to assist them with their ongoing investigation. We extend our sincerest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to Dale’s family and to all those who are mourning his loss.”