Community remembers Middletown father of 3 who died after bar fight

MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) - A community is in mourning after a father was killed in a bar fight in Middletown this past weekend.

Police say the fight happened at the Old Crow Bar on Jackson Lane. John Fugate died in the hospital Saturday.

Fugate's loved ones are still in disbelief. Many people that spoke with FOX19 NOW described his personality as larger than life.

"He was a great guy, fun spirited and he has a super big heart," said Matt Lester.

Lester was a longtime friend to the 46-year-old musician. He says the only thing Fugate loved more than playing on stage was being with his three children.

"He was a great father to them. He was a dad first and foremost before anything else," said Lester.

However, Fugate never made it back home to his family on Saturday after police say a bar fight turned fatal. Fugate was reportedly working at The Old Crow Bar when he came face to face with an unhappy customer.

"There was a live band that showed up wanting to play on karaoke night. When they were told they weren't going to play everything went south," said Lester.

Middletown police say Fugate got into a fight with the man on stage. During the altercation, police say, Fugate fell backward off the stage and hit his head on the ground, knocking him out. He was taken to the hospital where he later died.

"I saw him the next morning at the hospital. He was gone, very sad," said Phillip Brown.

Brown has known Fugate since he was a child and remains a close family friend. He said he's still trying to process the tragedy, but his heart also goes out to the man who allegedly caused Fugate's death.

"I honestly feel bad for the kid. I'm sure this is not the outcome he had in mind but justice must be served," said Brown.

Many in the community are wearing buttons with Fugate's face on it. "Father, Brother, Best Friend. Fare Thee Well Final Tour 1971-2018," they read. The buttons are being sold at Lester's Rock n Roll Shop to keep Fugate's memory alive and to help support the family.

"He's was a good friend not just to me, but countless others here in town. He's going to be missed," said Lester.

The buttons are being sold for $5. All the money goes directly to the family. A GoFundMe has also been set up to help with the victims funeral expenses.

A memorial for Fugate will be held at Old Crow Bar on Thursday night starting a 9 p.m.

Middletown police are still investigating Fugate's death. Charges have not yet been filed. Police say after their investigation, the facts will be presented to a grand jury for consideration.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Hoover at 513-425-7796.

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