Fistfights Can End in Tragedy

On television, in the movies and in some video games, fistfights can go on for minutes. Antagonists trade powerful blows, yet keep coming back for more.

Real life often is different. Craig Peacock and Jarrett Chandler know.

So do the family, friends and classmates of young college student Kevin Figaniak. He died from injuries suffered in a fight last August.

Peacock, of Clewiston, Fla., is to go on trial this week in Wheeling. He is charged with first-degree murder in Figaniak’s death.

Charges against Peacock outline what allegedly happened on the night of Aug. 31, 2013. According to police, Peacock and Chandler, of Winnfield, La., along with another man, encountered Figaniak and a fellow student. All involved had been drinking.

A fight ensued. Figaniak was knocked down, then allegedly kicked in the head. He was hospitalized, but died of his injuries.

In January, Chander pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to a year in prison.

The charge against Peacock is much more serious, with a much longer potential sentence.

This is not the first time a fistfight has ended in tragedy. Just a few years ago, a Wheeling man died on a downtown street after being punched, then falling down and striking his head.

Just one blow can kill, directly or indirectly, in a fight.

No one involved in the confrontation that killed Figaniak set out that night to be part of a tragedy. Yet it happened.

Especially when alcohol is part of the picture, a few words can spark a disagreement. That can escalate to a physical confrontation. Within seconds, someone can be hurt badly – or killed.

It is not like the movies. Not at all.

Please, think about that if circumstances, your own errors in judgment or those of others place you in such a situation. Once the fighting starts, it is too late to go back.