Two men have been arrested following the death of a 51-year-old man in Preston on Friday night.
The man, believed to be local, was found with head injuries following an attack described as unprovoked by Lancashire Police.
A force spokesman said the man "was in the wrong place at the wrong time" and said the attack followed an earlier altercation in the same area.
The man was found on a path close to the 53 Degrees Club at 1915 BST.
Detective Superintendent Graham Gardner, who is leading the investigation, said: "This man had suffered an unprovoked and serious attack.
"It seems to have been a case of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"We know there were a number of people nearby and we are appealing for any of them to come forward.
"We also know there was an altercation earlier involving a group of young people with two men who might have been students.
"We would like these two men to contact us as well."
The incident happened on a pathway between Fylde Road and Adelphi Street, close to the University of Central Lancashire.
A post-mortem examination is being carried out.