Details Emerge Over Brutal Murder Of American Traveling In Greece

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Police are investigating incidents that led to the beating and tragic death 22-year-old American Bakari Henderson.

Shot of Greek island street with fruit stands and man walking.

UPDATE: According to an updated report by CBS News, the death of 22-year-old American Bakari Henderson was not instigated by a selfie. A friend who witnessed the incident has made it clear that news reports that Henderson angered a bouncer by attempting to take a photo with a waitress at a local bar are based on misinformation.

According to the friend, the fight broke out after the group set their beers on the far end of a table where two men were seated. He says that the men reacted violently and shattered the beer bottles against the table, threatening them with the jagged edges. It eventually escalated into the brutal beating that killed the young man.

The New York Times reports that nine men were arrested and charged in total for Henderson's murder. Five of the suspects were jailed pending trial.

Henderson's body was brought home and he was laid to rest on July 15 in Austin, Texas.


While traveling on the island of Zakynthos in Greece, 22-year-old American and recent university graduate Bakari Henderson died from multiple head injuries after an altercation outside a bar in the tourist town of Laganas.

The investigation is ongoing, but authorities say that an argument over a selfie was likely the initial event that lead to the young man's death.

According to CBS News, witnesses told police that Henderson and his friends wanted to take a selfie with one of the waitresses at a local bar. This supposedly infuriated the bouncer, who was then able to rally allies. Police report that at least 10 people followed the American and his friends out of the bar, among them the bouncer and another staff member. Another six were identified as Serbian nationals staying at a nearby hotel.

Henderson was brutally beaten and eventually died from the injuries.

A budding entrepreneur, Henderson had recently graduated from the University of Arizona with a major in business finance. He had traveled to Greece for a photo shoot for a clothing line he was in the process of developing, explained his family in a statement. Zakynthos was to be his foray into his own career and the potential start of some big dreams, not a crushing end.

Eight people have been arrested in connection with the attack and charged with voluntary manslaughter, as at least one of the accused's lawyers has stated that the intent was never to kill Henderson. According to them, his death was a tragic and unfortunate accident.

While murder may have not been the intent, The Washington Post reports surveillance videos from nearby shops show that the perpetrators continued to beat Henderson even after he was unconscious. A senseless intent to cause severe damage seemed to be driving the violence, even after the victim was clearly incapacitated. 

“Bakari was not one to act aggressively like that," his friend, Travis Jenkins, told ABC News. "He was always the one who was the peacemaker."

"He was, he didn't have any of those characteristics that you would think about in terms of bar-room brawls," Bill Norton, a neighbor of Henderson's family back in America, explained to CBS News. "You know, it just didn't fit Bakari's nature. So I'm just puzzled."

The young man's friends have started a GoFundMe page in order to help bring his body back to the United States and for funeral expenses. So far they have raised over $30,000 with an end goal of $50,000. In the meantime, the U.S. State Department is helping the grieving family work with Greek authorities as the investigation continues. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona announced on Twitter that he is in the process of making sure the rest of the travelers get home safely.

Banner and thumbnail credit: Wikimedia Commons user ElGreco(neu) 

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