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Long IslandSuffolk

SUNY Oneonta student from Long Island critical after assault, cops say

Joseph P. Schof, 18, of upstate Bullville, is

Joseph P. Schof, 18, of upstate Bullville, is charged with second-degree assault for allegedly beating SUNY-Oneonta student Tyler Giancola, 21, of Westhampton, on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in Oneonta at about 2:40 a.m. Credit: Oneonta Police Department

A SUNY Oneonta student from Westhampton whose head hit the pavement after he was punched during an early morning fight remained hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday, according to police and his mother.

Tyler Giancola, 21, underwent treatment Wednesday at Albany Medical Center's Neurological Intensive Care Unit, two days after being punched, said his mother, Beth Flanagan.

"We're just very, very concerned right now with his condition," said Flanagan, of Westhampton.

Oneonta police in the upstate college town responded early Sunday to a 911 call of a fight on Main Street, according to a department news release. Officers arrived to find Giancola on the ground "bleeding from his head with labored breathing," according to the release.

Giancola was in a group of four or five people who exchanged words with two or three others, said Lt. Douglas Brenner, a police department spokesman.

The verbal spat turned physical, Brenner said. A punch thrown by Joseph P. Schof, 18, of upstate Bullville, knocked Giancola to the ground, he said.

"Two groups got to jawing at each other," Brenner said. "It went back and forth and eventually escalated."

Schof was charged with felony second-degree assault, Brenner said.

He was arraigned Sunday in Oneonta City Court and released on $5,000 cash bail, police said.

It was not clear whether Schof entered a plea -- or when he is due back in court. There was no indication the that Giancola and Schof knew each other, Brenner said.

Flanagan said she has been at her son's bedside since Sunday afternoon.

He graduated from Suffolk Community College after attending Westhampton Beach High School, Flanagan said, adding that her son was studying education in his first year at Oneonta.

Brenner said it's not known where the two groups were before they crossed paths. He said some members of each group had been drinking alcohol.

"There are a lot of house parties up here, and there are plenty of places they could have been," he said.

CORRECTION: Because of incorrect information from police, an earlier version of this story misstated that Joseph Schof was a student at SUNY Oswego.

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