A 21-year-old former Central Michigan University student died Saturday after sustaining injuries the night before outside The B.O.B. entertainment complex in downtown Grand Rapids.
Gregory Barker of Grand Rapids was involved in an altercation between two groups of college students arriving at the complex on two buses. After both groups were denied access to the B.O.B., a fight ensued around 1 a.m.
Police were called the next morning at 9:30 a.m. when Barker began complaining of pain from his injuries, Grand Rapids Police Lt. Pat Merrill said. He was taken to Spectrum Hospital, where he later died.
“When we got this call, (Barker) had somehow realized he was more injured than he thought,” Merrill said.
Although Merrill said the people involved in the fight were college-age, he was unable to confirm that the conflict had anything to do with school.
“I don’t know if college students were involved,” he said. “The argument was not collegiate in nature.”
GRPD found no weapons at the scene. Merrill said the fight involving 11-13 people was finished in 30 seconds. The assailants began fighting on the sidewalk next to The B.O.B. and then moved into a parking lot to the north.
“It was a very short exchange,” Merrill said. “It was not an extended street fight. We never even got called to the scene.”
Merrill said downtown Grand Rapids saw an influx of people that weekend, due to sporting events and two 21st birthday parties being celebrated in the area.
“It was a good crowd downtown,” he said. “There were a lot of party buses. We had several big celebrations taking place.”
B.O.B. owner Greg Gilmore addressed the incident in a statement to Fox 17 WXMI. He said two buses arrived after midnight, and that most of the group members were not allowed in for being too intoxicated.
“Most of the groups were denied entry, and they are the ones that caused the problems,” read Gilmore’s statement. “Our security only got involved when they saw one of the groups ganging up on people over by the lot by (TGI) Fridays.”
According to a witness, B.O.B. security guards attempted to separate the conflicting groups. One guard was observed sustaining injuries after being pushed into a piece of metal siding.
Several hours later, officers were called to Barker’s home in Cascade Township. He had sustained blunt force trauma to the abdomen and suffered internal bleeding as a result of his injuries.
Despite WXMI’s earlier report of Barker being a current CMU student, officials said he dropped out after last year’s spring semester.
“He is not a student here,” said CMU Director of Public Relations Steve Smith. “It looks like he dropped out and never came back.”
Last April, another CMU student died at The B.O.B., however it came from falling four stories inside the entertainment complex.