Officials are investigating the death of a longtime New England Patriots fan who died during a home game after a rival fan punched him during a heated altercation, according to witness testimony.
Dale Mooney, 53, of New Hampshire, was “in apparent need of medical attention” while in the stands during Sunday’s NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, the Norfolk County district attorney’s office said in a statement Monday. He was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital.
Patriots and Gillette Stadium officials spoke out about Mooney’s death Tuesday, saying they’re working with local authorities to assist in the investigation. No arrests had been announced as of Tuesday evening.
Tragedy: A longtime #Patriots fan died at the game Sunday night after being punched by a #Dolphins fan and hitting his head on the ground, causing him to lose consciousness and never regain it.
The fan, Dale Mooney, was a 30 year season ticket holder who was at the game with his… pic.twitter.com/4nT9cQnv9k
— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) September 19, 2023
“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,” the organizations said, adding, “We extend our sincerest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to Dale’s family and to all those who are mourning his loss.”
Multiple witnesses who were present with Mooney in the stands have spoken out about what they saw.
Joey Kilmartin told MassLive.com that he saw a Dolphins fan punch Mooney, who never got back up, prompting paramedics to come to the scene of the fight.
“The Dolphins fan walks over and clearly punches him in the face,” Kilmartin said. “[He] gets knocked out, and you can tell right away he’s not OK.”
Another witness told NBC 10 Boston that Mooney suffered a strong blow to the head.
“It was really one punch that I saw, and the victim got punched really hard on the side of the head and went down. He’s a bigger guy, but he just crumbled,” the witness said.
Mooney’s wife told the network that in the three decades her husband has held a season pass, he’s “never had one problem. He is the kindest, gentlest person.”
She told WCVB-TV, an ABC News affiliate in Boston, that her husband attended the game with three friends, who told her that other attendees were taunting them during the game.
“I just feel numb. I just can’t even believe this is for real,” she told the station, adding, “I just don’t understand why people have to go to that extreme. Why can’t it just be fun? That’s all it’s supposed to be.”