For slain Fairfield Prep student James McGrath, ‘it was always about the team’

Photo of Peter Yankowski
James McGrath

James McGrath

Contributed photo

SHELTON — A Fairfield Prep student killed last weekend in a stabbing that left three other people hospitalized was remembered in his obituary as “always a positive, loving and caring person.”

Shelton resident James McGrath, 17, died after being stabbed at a local house party late Saturday night. He was transported to Bridgeport Hospital where he was pronounced dead early Sunday.

“Many described Jim as a wonderfully happy person with a big heart who was a loving friend to many,” McGrath’s obituary reads. “He loved his school, Fairfield Prep, and he excelled as an athlete in every sport he chose.”

McGrath played football and lacrosse for the school, and in youth sports for Shelton and the Connecticut Wolves. About 1,000 people, including his parents, gathered to honor McGrath’s memory before a Fairfield Prep-Shelton High lacrosse game on Wednesday.

“He understood the meaning of being part of a team. His loyalty and support of his team members were known to all and his teammates and coaches treasured his dedication and willingness to work hard so that the team could be the very best it could possibly be,” McGrath’s obituary stated. “It was never just about Jimmy — it was always about the team.”

Milford resident Raul Valle, 16, was identified in an arrest warrant released Wednesday as the teen accused of the stabbing. Valle appeared as an adult in state Superior Court in Derby on charges of murder and three counts of first-degree assault.

According to the arrest warrant, Valle and other St. Joseph High School students arrived at the Shelton party uninvited. A “physical altercation” ensued before the stabbing, the warrant stated.

“The men and women of the Fairfield Police Department express our most sincere condolences to the Fairfield Prep community and the McGrath family on the tragic loss of their son, brother and friend,” the department said in a Facebook post Thursday alongside the obituary. “May his memory be eternal and may peace and healing come to those who knew him.”

James McGrath was born Dec. 18, 2004 to Margaret and Kevin McGrath. He is survived by his parents, sister Rosie, his grandfather Thomas Murren and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

“Jim had so many friends who deeply cared about him. He was a good friend who had the gift of always seeing the best in everyone and spreading happiness wherever he went,” the obituary stated. “He will be so missed and his memory will be treasured by all.”

The family also expressed their thanks to the school and Shelton communities “for their support and caring during this incredibly sorrowful time.”

“The outpouring of love from family, friends and the community is treasured by Jim's parents, sister and entire family,” the obituary stated.

Visiting hours will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the the Egan Chapel of Saint Ignatius of Loyola at Fairfield University on North Benson Road in Fairfield.

The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Theresa Church on Main Street in Trumbull. Internment will be private, the obituary said.