BOGALUSA, La. -- Shay Wilson says his best friend Chad Ellis was a great guy who was willing to help anybody and could light up a room.
But the lives of Ellis' loved ones are dark heading into the new year because of the shocking way they lost the 42-year-old over the weekend.
Wilson had been with Ellis at L & C's Bar in Bogalusa Friday night when he says the atmosphere at the end of the night went from laughing and cutting up to a fist fight brawl in the parking lot. Ellis was knocked out and never woke up.
"Seems like we as a society, people take it to the next level. They don't just fight and get over it,” said Bogalusa Police Chief Joe Culpepper. “They want to bring knives and guns and whatever. But this was just simply a fist fight with an unfortunate end."
Police believe when Ellis fell following the knockout punch, his head hit the ground. That's what they believe caused his death. The Washington Parish Coroner’s Office says its preliminary cause of death is blunt force trauma to the head.
The police chief says while they are investigating what happened here as a homicide, the tough part is choosing what crime to apply.
"There's a whole lot of unfortunate circumstance here and the D.A.'s office will naturally be involved in this process. Once we've gathered all our info we will seek advice from them,” said Culpepper. “They may or may not want us to arrest someone. They might want to put it in front of a grand jury to begin with to see. But someone will, there will be a price paid for the man's death."
In the meantime, Ellis, who had been living in Tennessee the past few years, is being missed and remembered by friends far-and-wide, his wife and his daughter.
Police say there is a suspect in the case, but they do not have a time frame as to when they’ll turn the investigation over the district attorney’s office.
Funeral arrangements for Ellis are expected to take place in Franklinton, but dates and times are still pending.