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WVU student hit by bottle, hospitalized

MORGANTOWN - A West Virginia University student was nearly killed when he was hit in the face with a thrown beer bottle.  

Morgantown police are investigating the incident, which took place in the early morning hours Sunday.

Christian Chirico, 20, of Palmyra, Va., was standing at an outdoor hotdog stand along High Street when he was struck, said his father, Paul Chirico. Christian Chirico suffered injuries to his eye and face, his father said.

Friends chased the assailant while others took Chirico to Ruby Memorial Hospital. He inhaled a lot of blood, and as a result, his blood oxygen levels dropped dangerously low.

"He almost died," Paul Chirico said. "He was pretty close."

Christian Chirico, a petroleum engineering major and member of the wrestling team, suffered damage to his tear ducts, a lacerated eyelid and damage to his iris. His father said that although Chirico's injuries are severe, he hasn't developed cataracts, nor has there been damage to his retina or optic nerve.

"It's just a real mess right now," his father said.

Chirico is also on the Garrett Ford Athletic Director Academic Honor Roll.

"He's a smart kid, he's a great student," his father said.

Chirico is recovering from his injuries at home in Virginia, and his father hopes he will be able to return to school next week.

Morgantown Police Detective Daniel Trejo declined to offer specific details, citing an ongoing investigation.

Paul Chirico said police might have a suspect in mind, based on information given by Christian Chirico's friends.

"I'd rather have something positive come out of it," Paul Chirico said. "When you're young, you don't expect something like that to happen."

Anyone with information should call detectives at 304-284-7454.

The latest incident was the first violent crime in Morgantown's downtown area in 2013. It follows a number of violent incidents that have attracted considerable local media attention in recent months.

On Nov. 30, a 20-year-old WVU student was stabbed on High Street around 3:15 a.m. Police arrested two men in connection with the incident. That incident was followed by the stabbing of a 24-year-old WVU student along Van Voorhis Road on Dec. 2. That case is still under investigation.

In August, five men and one juvenile were arrested for beating a Texas man on High Street after a fight outside a bar. Only one of the men arrested had a Morgantown address.



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