Jesuit student Kevin Figaniak was brutally attacked while walking home early Saturday morning; he succumbed to his injuries just 24 hours later. Police have charged two young men with the murder.
"Kevin spent the last three years at Wheeling Jesuit forging friendships and in his final hours, Kevin was surrounded by those friends and his family, who, through their love and prayers, brought Kevin home to Jesus," WJU president Rev. James Fleming said in a prepared statement for the press.
Figaniak and a friend were attacked by a group of three to four men as they returned home from a night out. The friend was able to escape with only minor injuries, and the assailants fled the scene before emergency responders arrived on the scene. Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said that the police are "vigorously investigating" the case, which they call a "malicious attack."
According to The Intelligencer, Craig Tyler Peacock and Jarrett Mathis Chandler have been arrested and charged with murder; they are currently being held on $1 million bail. Police have said that they will not release further details in light of the investigation but that more charges are possible. The WJU community held a prayer service for students on Saturday evening after learning of the news, and three Masses were offered on Sunday.
Students have begun planning the Kevin Figaniak Memorial Hockey Game in honor of the lacrosse player, with the game being held during Christmas break and proceeds going to the Figaniak family.
"He was one heck of a player," Morgan Steer, who played with Figaniak, told The Morning Call newspaper. "He always had a smile, he was always making people laugh."
People are leaving their condolences and memories of Figaniak online for all to see and remember. Funeral arrangements are still pending, but it's clear that Figaniak left an impression on those he met.
"I only knew his face on campus, but my prayers are with Kevin Figaniak & family," tweeted Chelsea Reyher.
"Go with God," added Deborah DelPrince. "Remembering Kevin M. Figaniak #16."