Bakari Henderson was a peacemaker. He wasn’t the type of person to get into fights, his friends say. But the 22-year-old lost his life when he was beaten to death in a bar brawl early Friday morning while visiting Greece, leaving family, friends and classmates stunned.
At least eight people have been arrested in connection with his death, ABC News reports. But it’s still unclear why Henderson, a recent graduate of the University of Arizona, was targeted at the bar and beaten in the street in Laganas, a village on the island of Zakynthos.
According to the Washington Post, the altercation began when a customer approached Henderson, who was at the bar with friends. The exchange quickly escalated, moving outside where Henderson was beaten and battered until he was unconscious. The group of men, identified and arrested later with the help of surveillance cameras, beat Henderson even after he blacked out, the Post reports.
He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Two of the men involved in the fight — a 32-year-old from Serbia and a 34-year-old from Greece — were employees at the bar, the Post reports. The remaining six individuals were arrested after police raided their hotel. All were said to be from Serbia.
“Bakari was not one to act aggressively like that. He was always the one who was the peacemaker,” Travis Jenkins, a friend of the victim, told ABC News.
“Such a fun loving person and he’s so easy going. So many people just loved him, so it was hard to believe,” friend Sam Hindsman said about Henderson.
Henderson had reportedly traveled to Greece to shoot photos for the launch of his new clothing line. The recent graduate received a degree in business finance and entrepreneurship in May, and had attended the University of Arizona on a full academic scholarship.
“All of us at the University of Arizona are shocked and saddened by the loss of our recent graduate, Bakari Henderson,” the university’s president, Robert C. Robbins, said in a statement released on the school’s website.
“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. Our staff in the Dean of Students office are reaching out to the faculty and staff across campus. We also are working with his student organizations and the affiliations he had on campus to offer support to those who knew Bakari. I know I speak for the university community as I express deepest condolences to Bakari’s family and friends.”
An investigation into the incident continues. Friends of the graduate have set up a GoFundMe to pay for funeral expenses.