A Texas college graduate who was beaten to death while on vacation in Greece was trying to run away from the gang who killed him, surveillance footage revealed.
The American college grad who was beaten to death outside a bar on a Greek island by a group of thugs was killed because of an argument over a selfie, according to a report.
Bakari Henderson, a 22-year-old who just graduated from the University of Arizona and was visiting Greece with friends, became wrapped up in a heated confrontation involving other bar customers and two bar employees after he asked to take a picture with a waitress, Greek police spokesman Theodore Chronopoulos.
“They kicked and punched him to his body and his head,” Chronopoulos said, adding that Henderson was beaten by as many as 15 men. “His death came from hits in his head.”
Video surveillance from the Friday incident outside a bar on the Greek island of Zakynthos shows Henderson being fatally beaten in a span of 30 seconds, according to the newspaper.
Nine men have been arrested and charged with intentional homicide in connection to Henderson’s death, Chronopoulos said.
Bakari Henderson, 22, of Austin suffered fatal head injuries in the beating last Friday on the island Zakinthos.
In the security footage, Henderson is spotted fleeing along the sidewalk when one of the men – who police identified as six Serbian nationals – body-slammed him into the floor, the Daily Mail reported.
He was then repeatedly punched and kicked for about 20 seconds until a woman passed by and told them to stop.
According to a friend who was with Henderson at the time, the attack was sparked after the college graduate and some friends set down their drinks at the other end of a table where two men were sitting, CBS News reported.
The friend said the two men grabbed the beers, smashed them on the table and used the shattered bottles as weapons.
Local media reported that the incident began because Henderson and his friends wanted to take a photo with a waitress. The friend claimed the reports are untrue.
Five of the nine men suspected in the attack appeared before an investigating magistrate on Wednesday. The suspects include one Greek, seven Serbs and one British citizen of Serbian origin.
(imerazande.gr via AP)
The other four are scheduled to appear on Thursday. The judge will make a decision for each man on whether to set bail or to remand them in custody pending trial.
In the CCTV footage, obtained by Greek newspaper Proto Thema, Henderson is seen wearing a light colored T-shirt and pants.
After getting body slammed to the ground, one attacker can be seen kicking him in the back while another one punches him in the face.
The attackers were pushed away and a woman is seen standing over Henderson’s body stopping them from going near him, the Daily Mail reported.
Greek police have confirmed the video is genuine.
Henderson graduated in May from the University of Arizona with a degree in business administration. His family said in a news release that he was in Greece working on a photo shoot to launch a clothing line.
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In this 2016 photo provided by John Gramlich shows, Bakari Henderson, left, with friend Travis Jenkins, in Austin, Texas. Henderson, of Austin and recent graduate from the University of Arizona, was beaten to death early Friday, July 7, 2017, at a bar in Lagana on the Greek island of Zakynthos. (Provided Photo/John Gramlich via AP)
“He was the guy who walked around campus and knew everyone. He was so determined in life, I mean he had dreams of starting a clothing line and opening his own business and he inspired me to work harder,” Henderson’s college friend, Alyssa White, told KVUE television station in Austin. Henderson’s aunt, Jan Richardson, told The Associated Press on Monday that her nephew had planned to travel to Spain after his time in Greece.
She said the family doesn’t have any “definitive answers or knowledge about what actually happened,” but that they are trying to keep their interactions with the authorities private. She said their focus is on getting her nephew’s body returned.
The incident reportedly began at around 3 a.m. Friday when Henderson had a minor altercation with a security guard at a sports bar called Bar Code.
According to media reports from Greece, the fight started after a man from a group of Serbians walked up to a group of Americans that included Henderson and broke a glass on their table. One of the Americans then reportedly grabbed the 32-year-old Serbian and punched him, which is believed to have sparked the massive bar brawl.
The security guard and a 34-year-old Greek bartender chased Henderson out of the bar and beat him to death, allegedly with brass knuckles. Eight others are believed to have joined in the assault, which was witnessed by several horrified onlookers passing by.
Witnesses reported seeing Henderson surrounded by a crowd of as many as 10 people during the attack, which was said to have lasted for about 30 seconds.
The Greek Security Division said that he was rushed to a hospital in Zakynthos, where he was pronounced dead on arrival due to severe head trauma. The grad student’s body was taken to the Patras coroner for further examination, but his death was most likely caused by multiple blows to the head.
“Bakari loved spending time with family and friends, traveling, and meeting new people. He was a big thinker and enjoyed coming up with new business ventures. Bakari was an inspiration to all he met. He loved life and lived it to the fullest.”
Four people were arrested, two were charged with Henderson’s murder and others are being questioned
An investigation has been launched into Henderson’s death, and at least four people have already been arrested for their involvement. Out of the four who were arrested, two were charged with his murder, and a number of other people are being questioned.
Greek newspaper Kathimerini said that only two suspects were taken into custody initially, but after viewing security footage of the attack, police picked up two more suspects who were also of Serbian descent like the security guard.
The State Department released a statement saying:
“Greek police in Zakynthos notified the U.S. Embassy of the death of a U.S. citizen in the early morning hours of Friday, July 7. We are in communication with authorities and providing consular assistance to the deceased citizen’s family. We offer our sincerest condolences to family.”
Police are investigating whether race played any part in the attack on Henderson, who was black.
Henderson graduated from the University of Arizona and played basketball in high school.
Back in May 2017, Henderson, originally from Austin, Texas graduated from the University of Arizona, where he studied business finance and entrepreneurship.
University President Robert C. Robbins said in a statement:
“Our hearts and prayers are with his friends and family. I can only imagine the deep sense of loss they must be feeling at his untimely death. It is always a tragedy when a young life ends before it has really yet to begin.”
Before college, Henderson played basketball for Anderson High School in Austin, which he graduated from in 2013. According to his MaxPreps profile, he played 34 games with an average of 2.7 points per game, 0.5 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 0.1 blocks. His Junior year (2011-2012) he scored 92 points, grabbed 89 rebounds and had 18 assists.
One photo of Henderson on Facebook showed him wearing a Los Angeles Lakers T-shirt, and one of his favorite basketball players was said to be Kobe Bryant. Other photos (some dating back to 2012) show him hanging out with his friends at school and various other places.
A British teen was beaten and stabbed to death by taxi drivers on the island in July 2011.
Though the Greek island of Zakynthos seems tourist-friendly, this sadly isn’t the first time a tourist has been killed by residents. Back in July 2011, a 19-year-old British man named Robert Sebbage was beaten and stabbed to death by a 22-year-old taxi driver named Stelios Morfis.
In addition to Sebbage’s brutal death, four of his friends were injured when they went out at the Lagunas resort. According to the BBC, the group was attacked while they were sitting outside of a McDonald’s on a curb. Another man, 26-year-old Dimosthenes Mylonas, was charged as being an accomplice in the murder, but was found not guilty.
Morfis had denied committing the murder, saying that he simply lashed out with his pocket knife after being taunted by Sebbage and his friends.
Morfis was found guilty of causing deadly bodily injury without intent and sentenced to 16 years in prison, but Sebbage’s father didn’t think that’s enough. “It’s a disgrace,” Andy Sebbage said about the relatively short prison sentence.
Even worse, the BBC reported last year that Morfis was spending time out of prison, which had upset Sebbage’s parents. His mother Rhian said that she had hoped Morfis would at least carry out his 16-year sentence.
Speaking on the anniversary of her son’s death, Mrs Sebbage said: “We have to accept that Greece do things differently and there’s no point in keep going back to the courts to fight it.” She said the court cases had cost the family thousands of dollars and they would “be working forever to pay for it.”