Bouncer on life support following bar fight

Luther "Jerry" Burton Jr., 38, is a bouncer at Hookah House in Smithfield. (Image courtesy of the family)
February 4, 2013 4:46:33 PM PST
A bar room brawl in Smithfield has a man who tried to break up the fight in the hospital on life support.

The fight broke out at the Hookah House around 2 a.m. Saturday.

An eyewitness told ABC11 that an off-duty bouncer who worked at the bar tried to break up the fight that escalated from two to at least 60 people.

"One person got hit and it was a domino effect. When we went outside it was mayhem, people getting tasered," eyewitness Kyle Whiteside said. "Everybody was fighting, people getting hit by cars; it was chaotic. Next thing I know I just see Luther fall and hit the ground."

When the crowd cleared, police found Luther "Jerry" Burton Jr., 38, laying in the parking lot.

Family members told ABC11 Burton suffered a major blow to the head when he hit the cement. They said his tongue went into the back of his throat and cut off oxygen, leading to brain damage.

"I kept on looking down at the ground at Luther, and I saw he wasn't moving, I'm thinking is he dead?" Whiteside said.

Burton is currently in critical condition and on life support at WakeMed.

The family told ABC11 they will end his life support Tuesday. They said he wouldn't want to suffer and that he is an organ donor and can help others.

"They were going to wait 72 hours to make the decision," said Amy Holt, who owns a diner in Smithfield where Burton also worked.

"Whether he does wake up or not, I do know that when he does, he'll wake up in heaven. And that's where his mom is, waiting on him," Burton's friend Jonathan Hall said.

Not too far from the scene Saturday, police found 19-year-old Trenton Hensley. Witnesses told ABC11 he was involved in the fight before it escalated.

"I don't think he's the one that hit him, he may have started the whole altercation but I don't think he was the one who actually hit him," Whiteside said.

Hensley is currently being held in the Johnston County Jail on $50,000 bond on a felony assault charge.

He is expected to make his next court appearance Feb. 21.

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