September 3, 2013

Wheeling Jesuit Player Killed in Weekend Assault

by Sean Burns | | Twitter

©Wheeling Jesuit Athletics

Wheeling Jesuit senior lacrosse player Kevin Figaniak died Sunday morning at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital after suffering severe head trauma during an attack early on Saturday morning.

Two men, Craig Tyler Peacock, 22, of Clewiston, Fla., and Jarrett Mathis Chandler, 24, of Winnfield, La., were arrested and charged with murder in the attack. They are being held on $1 million bail at Northern Regional Jail in West Virginia.

According to news reports, Figaniak and a friend were returning to the Wheeling Jesuit campus after a night out in town when they were jumped from behind. The friend, who has not been identified, suffered minor injuries but was released. After initially having no suspects, police quickly moved to arrest the Peacock and Chandler, who were staying at a nearby camp frequented by coal and gas industry workers, according to reports.

Figaniak started 12 games last spring for the Cardinals as an attackman/midfielder, finishing seventh on the team with 22 points (14 goals, eight assists). A native of Perkasie, Pa. -- a suburb of Philadelphia -- Figaniak led Pennridge High in scoring for three years as an attackman prior to his enrollment at Wheeling Jesuit.

He also excelled at ice hockey, which he played at the club level at Wheeling Jesuit.

Friends and teammates are reeling with this unexpected tragedy, recalling Figaniak as fun-loving and a good guy.

"He always had a smile. He was always making people laugh," Pennridge hockey teammate Morgan Steer told Freda R. Savana of The Intelligencer. "He was one heck of a hockey player."

"Today is a difficult day for our campus as we mourn the loss of a member of the Wheeling Jesuit family," Wheeling Jesuit University President Rev. James Fleming said in a statement.

Funeral arrangements had not yet been announced as of Tuesday morning.

The Cardinals lacrosse team went 11-6 and made the ECAC playoffs in 2013, their fifth season under head coach Jay Sothoron. After starting his coaching career at Greensboro College, Sothoron coached at his alma mater, St. Mary's Ryken (Md.), before taking over at Wheeling Jesuit following the sudden passing of former head coach Kevin Tyska in 2008.

We will update this story as more information becomes available.

Related Reports

- Video on Arrests (WVOT 9 News)
- Wheeling Jesuit Statement (via WVOT 9 News)
The Intelligencer
Montgomery News
CBS Local (Pittsburgh)

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