FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A close-knit Connecticut community will remember 17-year-old high school lacrosse player James "Jimmy" McGrath, who was fatally stabbed during a fight outside a house party in Shelton on Saturday, at a funeral service on Sunday. 

A 16-year-old from Milford has been charged with murder and three counts of first-degree assault after allegedly stabbing McGrath and other teens, who sustained injuries, during Saturday’s fight. The teen is being held on $2 million bond.

An obituary for McGrath describes the 17-year-old as the "sunshine" of his parents' life and his sister's "best friend and confidant." 

James McGrath

James McGrath, 17, died after he was stabbed while at a house party over the weekend. He was a junior at Fairfield College Preparatory School in Connecticut. (Fairfield College Preparatory School)

"Jim was born on December 18, 2004 and was always a positive, loving and caring person. Many described Jim as a wonderfully happy person with a big heart who was a loving friend to many. He loved his school, Fairfield Prep, and he excelled as an athlete in every sport he chose. He played football and lacrosse for Fairfield Prep and as a youth for Shelton and Connecticut Wolves as well," the obituary says. "He understood the meaning of being part of a team."


McGrath was loyal and supportive of his teammates and coaches, according to the obituary. Fairfield County-area lacrosse teams have come together to remember McGrath as a beloved member of his team and sports community, according to locals.

James McGrath

James McGrath. (Fairfield College Preparatory School)

The junior at Fairfield College Preparatory School was among a group of teenagers outside a residence on Laurel Glen Drive in Shelton, Connecticut, around 11:55 p.m. Saturday when officers responded to reports of a fight and a stabbing. A total of four stabbing victims were located, given medical attention, and sent to the hospital, police said. McGrath was later pronounced dead. 

A neighbor told Fox News Digital that she heard the sound of girls screaming on Saturday night at the time of the alleged incident. She ran outside and called 911 but could not make out much detail in the dark other than about 30 cars parked up and down their street. The neighbor also said police attempted to give CPR to McGrath for about 30 minutes when they arrived. 

Another neighbor speculated that the teen who hosted the party was well-respected in the community. On Wednesday, a heart-shaped memorial sat outside the home where the party allegedly took place. 

The 17-year-old had "so many friends who deeply cared about him" and saw "the best in everyone and spreading happiness wherever he went," according to his obituary. 


"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. It was never just about Jimmy — it was always about the team," it reads. 

The Shelton Detective Bureau is still actively investigating McGrath's killing and encouraging anyone with information about the incident to call the Shelton Police Department at 203-924-1544.

Fairfield College Preparatory School

Fairfield College Preparatory School (Google Maps)

A neighbor told WABC that the fight happened outside a home throwing a party involving alcohol. 


More than 1,000 people gathered Sunday at a prayer service on campus that was followed by a Monday memorial service where school President Christian Cashman addressed students and staff. 

"I offer once again Prep’s loving condolence and embrace of the McGrath family," he said. "May the Spirit of healing peace and love enfold them, and may we be instruments of peace and healing in the days ahead. May God bless Jimmy McGrath, Class of 2023, forever a Man for Others, forever a Son of Fairfield Prep."

Fox News' Danielle Wallace and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.