WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) – The death of a Washington & Jefferson College student has been ruled a homicide.

The Washington County Coroner reports Timothy McNerney, 21, of Butler, died from blunt force trauma of the head.

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McNerney was a senior at W&J College and was a running back for the football team.

He was found at College & Maiden Streets in Washington and was then taken to the emergency room at Washington Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

W&J College released a statement earlier today.

“The safety of our students, both on and off campus, remains our highest priority,” read part of the statement.

It continued to state that it would provide grief counseling for students.

“He was always full of energy on the football field or on campus,” Tommy Brunoni, a teammate, said. “Everyone was a big fan of Tim.”

Washington police say he was walking home from a bar with a friend on campus when a group of as many as six men tried to rob them.

The friend was able to get away, but McNerney was not.

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“He stood up for himself, he stood up for what he was taught, he stood up for his values,” Jim Vautier, a student, said. “He didn’t care – you couldn’t influence him from the outside.”

Dozens of students and fellow football players showed up at a vigil Thursday night to remember McNerney.

“Tim was the first one to come up to me, introduce himself, shake my hand, let me know, you know, we were going to be here for four years, basically, we’re going to be brothers on the same team,” DeAndre Simmons, captain of the football team, said.

Others also shared how McNerney reached out to them.

“He asked me what I was doing for Easter and I told him I was going to stay here, and he said, ‘Come to me, man. My family wouldn’t mind.’

“To this day, it was the most memorable Easter ever,” added another teammate.

Keith Schanck, McNerney’s uncle, also spoke.

“Call you brother, tell him you love him,” he said. “Call your sister, tell her you love her, because it changes so fast.”

Stay with KDKA for more information on this story.

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