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About 500 attend funeral Mass

10/26/2004 - Boston Red Sox

EAST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Hundreds of mourners paid their
final respects Tuesday to a college student killed when police
fired pepper-spray pellets into a raucous crowd after the Boston Red Sox won the American League pennant.

About 500 friends, family and dignitaries -- including Gov. Mitt
Romney, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Boston Police Commissioner
Kathleen O'Toole -- filled St. John's Catholic Church for the
funeral Mass for Victoria Snelgrove, an apparent bystander to the violence.

In a eulogy marked by soft sobbing from mourners -- many of them
young friends and classmates of Snelgrove -- the Rev. Wally Keymont
criticized the rowdy fans whose behavior led to the young woman's death.

"Why did this have to happen?" he said. "I don't know why.
Some people feel it's their God-given right to riot, to destroy
property and cause mayhem. ... It is destructive and it is deadly."

Snelgrove, a 21-year-old junior at Boston's Emerson College, was
hit in the eye by a pellet early Thursday as police tried to
control the 80,000 revelers who gathered outside Fenway Park after
the Red Sox beat their archrival Yankees.

Her death prompted questions about whether police overreacted to
the mostly college crowd. The police department was criticized as
unprepared when rioting broke out in February following the New
England Patriots' Super Bowl win; one person was killed and another critically injured.

O'Toole said the department was creating an independent
committee to investigate the shooting. Police also are conducting
two internal investigations, and the district attorney's office is
looking into the matter.