Bakari Henderson, a 22-year-old African-American man, was beaten to death by a mob while vacationing on the Greek island of Zakinthos.
Henderson, a graduate of the University of Arizona, got in to a fight with about 10 other people outside of a bar early Friday morning and was killed, according to KVUE.com.
Eyewitnesses say Henderson got in to an altercation with a security man at a nightclub called “Bar Code.” The encounter, however, quickly turned violent, when the American tourist was reportedly chased in to the streets and beaten mercilessly by the group of men.
A native of Austin, Texas, Henderson was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Doctors believe he suffered severe head injuries, with autopsy results expected later this week.
So far, eight people have been arrested, including a 34-year-old Greek, a 32-year-old British man of Serbian origin, and six other Serbian tourists.
Greek police say investigations are ongoing but the arrested persons will be prosecuted on murder charges.
While it is speculated that race may have played a part in the attack, the Associated Press reports that the nightclub is in Lagana, an area of the island known for frequently rowdy behavior by young foreign tourists.
Confirming the news of Henderson’s death, the U.S. State Department released a statement offering its condolences to his 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.
Meanwhile, friends and family of the late-Henderson have continued to mourn his tragic death.
Friend Sam Hindsman told ABC News that Henderson was “such a fun loving person, and he’s so easy going. So many people just loved him, so it was hard to believe.”
Other friends say Henderson, who was in Greece working to launch a clothing line, was not one to act aggressively.
“Bakari was not one to act aggressively like that. He was always the one who was the peacemaker,” Travis Jenkins said.
A GoFundMe page set up to raise money for the cost of bringing Henderson’s body back to the United States and for funeral expenses has already raised more than $46,000.
He was just starting his life, so many dreams and aspirations not yet achieved. He was a blessing and brought a light of joy to everyone who encountered him, his GoFundMe page reads.
A statement from his family added:
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.
The University of Arizona also issued a statement describing his death as shocking and saddening:
Our hearts and prayers are with his friends and family. It is always a tragedy when a young life ends before it has really yet to begin.