Man’s friends question his death at Highlands bar
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Questions are swirling after a Louisville man died from his injuries after an altercation at a popular Highlands bar. Many versions of what happened between the man and a Nowhere Bar employee have been circulating on social media since the weekend.
“It’s still difficult to try and process it,” Gus Parks, a longtime friend of the victim, 35-year-old Christopher McKinney, said.
Parks and other friends tell WAVE 3 News they’re having trouble understanding how a night out at Nowhere Bar in the Highlands ended in McKinney’s death.
The call came into dispatchers at 1:15 a.m. Sunday morning.
Photos circulated on social media of people standing around McKinney waiting for paramedics to arrive. He died a few hours later at University Hospital.
Monday afternoon, LMPD told WAVE 3 News their investigation revealed McKinney was being escorted out of the bar for unruly behavior, and that’s when witnesses say he and a Nowhere Bar employee got into a brief altercation that led to McKinney to being knocked out.
McKinney was gay, but police say after multiple witness interviews, they found no reason to believe the incident was a hate crime.
“He never had a negative thing to say about anyone,” Parks said.
Multiple friends told us they don’t understand it because they never knew McKinney to be anything but kind, positive, and a newlywed with so much to look forward to.
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Parks, who was in McKinney’s wedding a few months ago said, “You never want to lose someone you’ve been best friends with for the majority of your adulthood,” he said. “He’s been a part of my life through my ups and my downs, the good, the bad, the happy, the sad and he brought so much joy to my life and helped me to become a better person.”
He added, “He truly, truly cared about people.”
The questions around McKinney’s death have generated a big conversation within the LGBTQ community.
“I can’t go back into Nowhere Bar until things change,” Darien Dickerson-Green, a Nowhere Bar regular, said. “They are upset. They are hurt. A lot of people are talking about this consistent behavior that takes place with bouncers at this particular establishment that is supposed to be LGBTQ-friendly.”
Community activist Jaison Gardner said he, too, has been wondering if everything that could have been done to prevent McKinney’s death was done.
“What I do know is people in my community have been concerned for quite some time about the state of affairs there as it relates to security,” Gardner said.
No one has been charged in the incident, and police are withholding the employee’s identity who struck McKinney.
LMPD confirmed their investigation is being turned over to the Commonwealth Attorney to determine how to proceed.
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