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Crime

Video Emerges of Fatal Beating of American Tourist in Greece

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Provided Photo/John Gramlich via AP

A 22-year-old Austin man visiting Greece was beaten to death last week after a violent attack at a bar and surveillance video of his brutal beating has recently emerged.

The video was shown during a bail hearing Wednesday for five men who have been charged with the murder of Bakari Henderson, a recent graduate of the University of Arizona, the Austin Statesman reports.

The video showed Henderson fleeing from a mob of at least 10 men outside of a bar in Laganas on the Greek island of Zakynthos before being body slammed by one man. Others soon joined in the assault. Henderson died after suffering severe head injuries, according to ABC News.

Nine people, mostly Serbians, have been charged in connection with Henderson’s death. The five men were denied bail and remain in jail pending trial, according to the Statesman. The remaining four suspects are scheduled to go before a judge Thursday.

A spokesperson for the Bureau of Consular Affairs said that Greek police in Zakynthos notified the U.S. Embassy of the death in the early morning hours of Friday, July 7.

“We just want him to come home and bury him and have closure for the family and the neighborhood,” Henderson’s neighbor and friend, Astrid Von Ehren, tells PEOPLE. “His family needs to find the answers and they need to know what happened. We just need to find the truth.”

Greek police spokesperson Theodore Chronopoulos told the Washington Post that Henderson was at a bar with some friends when he was confronted after he asked to take a selfie with a waitress.

Chronopoulos said one of the suspects, a 33-year-old Serbian, got into an argument with the waitress over the photo. The Serbian allegedly hit Henderson, who allegedly smashed a beer bottle on a nearby table. A group of men then chased Henderson outside of the bar and attacked him.

“They kicked and punched him to his body and his head,” Chronopoulos told the Post. “His death came from hits in his head.”

Chronopoulos said the beating lasted just 30 seconds.

However, Henderson’s friends have disputed the police account, saying that Henderson was minding his own business when two Serbian tourists picked a fight with him.

“Completely minding their own business,” Henderson’s friend Daniel Brown told ABC News. “They were all facing each other. Speaking to no one.”

Henderson’s childhood friend, Megan McCray, said he was not the type of person to get into a fight. “He is not a confrontational guy,” she tells PEOPLE. “He is the most patient calm, almost shy guy you would ever meet. He has a loving personality. I have known him since we were babies. He is not a fighter.”

McCray says she believes Henderson’s attackers “were looking for someone to fight and it just seemed like it was Bakari. It seemed like they picked one person out of the crowd. Testosterone filled men who took it too far. To chase him down, it seems like these guys had another agenda.”

“He is not the type of guy who would get into a confrontation,” echoes Von Ehren. “What happened is unbelievable.  He stopped confrontations. He was one of the last boys on earth who would do something like that. There is no way. It is such a tragic story.”

Friends say Henderson was in Greece for a week for a photo shoot for his new line of clothing and to celebrate his recent graduation from the University of Arizona.

“He left for Greece on Sunday or Monday and he was killed on Friday,” says Von Ehren. “He was supposed to come back on Sunday. It was a quick trip. I saw him the weekend before. He was playing basketball outside like he always does.”

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McCray described Henderson as a world traveler and a loyal and trusting friend.

“He has always been super genuine and heartfelt,” she says. “He was caring. He had a huge group of friends behind him. Any one of them would consider him a best friend.”

“He had this gorgeous smile that was contagious,” adds Von Ehren. “He was very polite and when he would meet you he would shake your hand. You don’t find kids like that anymore. He was a peacemaker.”

A private funeral for Henderson is scheduled for Saturday.