American Bakari Henderson was killed by a group of as many as 15 men because of an argument over a selfie at a bar on a Greek island, police said.
A confrontation began after Henderson, who was vacationing with friends, asked to take a picture with a waitress, and quickly escalated into a fistfight involving other customers and two bar employees, Greek police spokesman Theodore Chronopoulos told The Washington Post. Video surveillance shows that the 22-year-old recent graduate of the University of Arizona was fatally beaten in a span of just 30 seconds, Chronopoulos said.
“They kicked and punched him to his body and his head,” he said. “His death came from hits in his head.”
Nine men have been arrested and charged with intentional homicide.
The fight happened during a bar night devoted to Serbians. Chronopoulos said one of the suspects, a 33-year-old Serbian, got in an argument with the waitress over the selfie. He also hit Henderson, who then smashed a beer bottle on the other customer’s table, Chronopoulos said. Soon, about 10 to 15 men chased Henderson outside the bar and immediately caught him. They left him lying on the ground after beating him.
The police account of what happened early Friday morning at a bar in Laganas, a tourist village on the island of Zakynthos, differs from descriptions by Henderson’s friends, who said he was minding his own business when the suspects confronted him.
Daniel Brown, one of three friends who were with Henderson in Zakynthos, told ABC News that they were speaking to no one when the suspects initiated the fight. He said they immediately started CPR on Henderson after the suspects left and rushed him to a hospital.
Travis Jenkins, another friend, told ABC News that Henderson was not the type to start or get involved in a fight.
“He was always the one who was the peacemaker,” Jenkins said.
John Gramlich, a childhood friend, agreed.
“It’s not in his character at all to be aggressive or instigate anything,” he told the Associated Press. “He’s always the guy who is calming people down, really.”
Henderson’s friends did not immediately reply to Facebook messages requesting comment.
Jan Richardson, Henderson’s aunt and a spokeswoman for the family, said they have not received any details from investigators about what happened.
“There’d been lots of rumors floating around,” she told The Post. “We don’t have any official notice of what happened other than the fact, of course, that he was killed.”
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Kristine Phillips