WJU Student Dies From Injuries

WHEELING – A Wheeling Jesuit University student died early Sunday morning at a Pittsburgh Hospital after he was severely beaten by several men early Saturday in the area of Locust Avenue and National Road.

Kevin M. Figaniak, 21, of Perkasie, Pa., was pronounced dead today by the Allegheny County Medical Examiners’ Office. He had been flown to Pittsburgh after initially being treated for severe head trauma at Wheeling Hospital.

Wheeling Jesuit University released this statement:

“Today is a difficult day for our campus as we mourn the loss of a member of the Wheeling Jesuit family. It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that Kevin Michael Figaniak, WJU class of 2014, passed from this life quietly and peacefully surrounded by his family and friends,” said Rev. James Fleming, WJU president. “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. We ask you to please keep Kevin, his family and the entire Wheeling Jesuit community in your prayers,”

Figaniak, a senior business major, was a member of the WJU varsity lacrosse team and the university’s club hockey team. He was the son of Valerie and Tom Figaniak. Funeral arrangements are pending.

According to Wheeling police, Figaniak and another university student were walking toward the college after being at a nearby club early Saturday.

Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said the two students were attacked by three or four white men believed to be in their mid-20s. Two of the men had brown hair and wore blue jeans and another man wore a hat.

Police were called to the National Road location at about 1:43 a.m. and found the two students.

Their assailants had fled the scene. Locust Avenue leads to a footbridge across Wheeling Creek onto the WJU campus and is often utilized by students.

Figaniak was found lying on the ground near the intersection.

Police said he was unresponsive and suffering from significant head trauma. Wheeling Fire Department paramedics “quickly treated him at the scene and then rushed him to Wheeling Hospital,” police said.

Fleming commended the hospital staff in Wheeling and Pittsburgh for its work. “The medical staffs at both hospitals showed exceeding patience and professionalism in their care of Kevin,” Fleming said.

Wheeling Jesuit held a prayer service on Saturday evening for students. Staff members from residence life, campus ministry, the counseling office and the athletic department are talking with students, providing them with counsel and support. “Our main concern at this time is for Kevin’s family and our students,” Fleming added. Today’s Masses in the Chapel of Mary and Joseph on the WJU campus were offered for the repose of his soul and the intentions of his grieving family and friends, Fleming said.

The second victim, who was not identified in the police report, refused treatment for his injuries. Police said he had multiple contusions and bruises.

Police are asking anyone with information about the assault to contact the department.