Witnesses: 18-year-old Greenwood man dies after fight - FOX Carolina 21

Sheriff's office releases statement about Greenwood man who died after fight

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GREENWOOD, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The Greenwood County Sheriff's Office is investigating a fight between five individuals that happened in the early morning hours of Oct. 20 in Ninety Six.

Christopher Barber's girlfriend, Reid Hughes, says he was jumped by four men at the party then died a short time later at her home in Waterloo.

The Laurens County Sheriff's Office and the Coroner are investigating Barber's death. Investigators tell us preliminary reports indicate the fight didn't contribute to Barber's death but his girlfriend and mother say that's bogus.

Barbers mom, Sharon Barber, told FOX Carolina's Cody Alcorn she was on the phone with her son when he took his last breath.

"The conversation started at 5:38 a.m. and he told me had just gotten back from his girlfriend's house and then at 5:41 a.m. I heard him gasp his last breath.

A police report shows Barber was jumped by four individuals between 4 and 4:45 on the morning of Oct. 20.  

Barber's girlfriend who witnessed the fight said it all started after Christopher stood up for her to one of the guys. She admits Christopher threw a beer bottle at one of the guys and that's when four of them jumped Christopher.

"One of my friends got two of the guys off him. And I tried to get another boy off him. Then one boy was still on him. Then he finally got off. I know for sure they were all punching him," said Hughes.

Christopher's mom said her son suffered from Asthma. And didn't have a lot of stamina.  

"I know that him trying to fight off four people took a lot out of him," she said.

But was it enough to contribute to his death?

Both his mom and girlfriend say they feel the fight was a contributing factor to whatever might have caused his death.

"I feel like if a person was jumped by four people then found dead an hour later. I feel like there is no way it couldn't contribute to it at all," explained Reid Hughes.

The Laurens County Sheriff's Office says Christopher's case is still an active death investigation and an official cause of death is pending toxicology results.

Our calls to the Laurens County Coroner were not returned.

And, the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office said no one has been arrested in regards to the fight in Ninety Six.

Sharon Barber said one thing is certain, she won't quit fighting until justice is brought forth in her son's death.

"There will be a fight. I'm not going to lay down and you know have loss after loss. They're not going to take my son and just expect me to go along with it. Christopher is dead and they still have their lives," said Sharon Barber.

On Nov. 7, John Long, officer in charge of professional standards at the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office, released a statement that said:

Although we are saddened by Mr. Barber's death, our investigation leads us to believe Mr. Barber went to Vines Road, with a group of his friends, to start an altercation. Once they arrived, Barber hit the homeowner in the head with a beer bottle which resulted in a fight. According to witnesses, one of which is Barber's girlfriend, stated Barber was fine when he left Vines Road. Most assault cases result with the instigator being charged. At this time we believe Mr. Barber instigated the fight and the other parties involved reacted to his actions. The investigation by the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office is closed unless new information arises.

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