The death of a recent U.S. college graduate in Greece may have been caused by an argument over a selfie. Aiden Kelley reports.
After graduating from the University of Arizona in May, Bakari Henderson set out to put his business skills to use by starting a clothing line.
He decided to travel to the the scenic island of Zakynthos, Greece, to do a photo shoot for the line. The island is a popular summer getaway with clear, bright blue water, perfect for photos.
Henderson, 22, was at a bar early Friday morning and was involved in a fight. The circumstances are unclear, but at least 10 people followed him into the street, where they beat him to death.
Family and friends have described Henderson as peaceful, easy going, ambitious and friendly, many wondering how he could have been involved in such as a vicious fight.
A GoFundMe to cover the cost of the funeral and bringing Henderson’s body home raised more than $37,000 since it was created Saturday.
A separate GoFundMe to cover, in part, “the engagement of legal counsel in Greece,” raised another $18,000 since it was created Saturday.
Eight arrested after fight possibly over a photo
Eight people were arrested in connection with the incident in Greece, according to various media reports.
“A 32-year-old British bouncer of Serbian origin and a Greek barman, 34, have been charged with his murder,” The Independent reported, along with a photo of two suspects covering their faces as they were escorted by police. Six Serbian men were also arrested.
The fight may have started after Henderson and his friends wanted to take a photo with a waitress, which angered a bouncer, according to CBS News.
At least 10 people following him out of the bar, “including the bouncer and another employee,” CBS News reported.
Athens newspaper Kathimerini reported that the fight began over “a petty dispute over someone setting their drink down on a table occupied by a different group.”
ABC News reported that a coroner told them Henderson suffered severe head injuries and that there appear to be no defensive wounds on his body.
Autopsy results are expected this week and a toxicology report will be released in several weeks, according to ABC News.
Friends and family mourn
Bakari was from Austin, Texas, and leaves behind his parents, Phil and Jill Henderson, brother P.J. Henderson, and sister Jory Henderson.
Friend Daniel Brown posted a photo with Bakari, remembering their last day together.
“I’ll never understand how one of the greatest days of my life; driving me and you around the island to go cliff diving as we sang the lyrics to the songs you were playing in the passenger seat beside me, could end in such a tragedy,” Brown wrote.
“My new life motto is BLB, Be Like Bakari, and I’ll tell myself that every morning as a constant reminder to stay humble, pursue my dreams, and never get rattled by the little things life has to throw my way.”
Bakari’s friend Travis Jenkins told ABC News that “Bakari was not one to act aggressively like that” and that “he was always the one who was the peacemaker.”
Another friend, Sam Hindsman, described Bakari to ABC News as “such a fun loving person and he’s so easy going.”
A reporter at KVUE in Austin said Henderson’s immediate family released a statement calling Bakari “a big thinker” and “an inspiration.”
As you can imagine, our family is devastated by the recent loss of our beloved son Bakari Jaward Henderson. He attended Anderson High School through his junior year and graduated from Hyde Park Baptist High School in 2013. Bakari attended The Eller College of Management at The University of Arizona on a full academic scholarship and graduated on May 12, 2017 with a BS in Business Finance and Entrepreneurship. The summer after his freshman year at University of Arizona, he interned with the Texas Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Texas State Senate. Bakari was in Greece working on a photo shoot to launch his new clothing line when the unbelievable tragedy occurred.
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.
We would like to thank our family, friends and the Austin community for your prayers, love and support.
Phil, Jill, P.J. and Jory
UA president: “It is always a tragedy when a young life ends before it has really yet to begin”
U.S. Department of State said in a statement that the agency is helping Henderson’s family.
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 and friends, and out of respect for the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment.
University of Arizona President Robert Robbins expressed “deepest condolences to Bakari’s family and friends” in a statement released Friday.
“All of us at the University of Arizona are shocked and saddened by the loss of our recent graduate, Bakari Henderson.
“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,” Robbins wrote.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake tweeted, “Tragic news. My prayers go out to Bakari’s family. In touch w/ @StateDept to make sure his friends get home safely.”
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