Maryland father Christopher Wright was killed while protecting his son from a fight sparked by a schoolyard dispute over just $30, his grieving fiancée told The Post Thursday.
Wright, 43, died from traumatic brain injuries on Friday after three teenagers and two adults — who had been looking for his 14-year-old son, Trenton — set upon him instead.
His fiancée, 44-year-old Tracy Karopchinsky, said the fatal altercation followed a fight involving their son Trenton and another teenager, and she suspects Wright may have been hit with a blunt object the mob had brought along.
“On Wednesday Trenton was walking near the school and a kid — not related to the [fatal] fight — came up to him and said ‘I stole $30 from your girlfriend’ or something along those lines,” Karopchinsky told The Post.
“He had the money in his hands. Trenton went to get the money and in reaction, hit the kid. He hit him once and that was the end of it.”
Karopchinsky explained Trenton had been suspended from school last Monday over another altercation and when he went back to school Friday morning a group of friends — some of whom would show up on her doorstep later that day — began harassing him.
“Right before lunch he walked into the bathroom there were about 20 people in there, including the one kid who wanted to fight him,” she said. “The other kids were there to watch and video the fight.”
Trenton was left with a bump on his head but did not tell any adults about the incident as he was fearful of another suspension, Karopchinsky explained.
When school let out at 4 p.m., Trenton began walking back home when he was accosted again by the boy he’d fought earlier, and a brawl erupted when another group of boys joined the fray.
“It became a complete brawl. Trenton was getting hit from every which way so he ended up crawling out to try and leave. Literally he was on the ground and crawled away. He couldn’t even tell who he was getting hit by,” Karopchinsky said.
After escaping, Trenton walked home but around 4:45pm three of the boys from earlier that day showed up with two adults.
“Their dad came in the house and said ‘your friends are outside’ not knowing what happened at school. My oldest son came downstairs and said ‘they’re not his friends’ and explained what was going on.”
“So their dad [Wright] came outside to tell them ‘Trenton’s not coming out, my son’s not going to fight,'” and the group threatened to break into the house and fight there, Karopchinsky said.
“One of the adults then said ‘if your son’s not going to fight, you’re going to fight.'”
The group proceeded to attack Wright. Karopchinsky said it was “a brutal thing. It wasn’t two people fighting.”
“My son said his dad was thrown to the ground at one point. I know there was punching. My son said he was being slammed against the ground.”
Karopchinsky’s eldest son, Tryston, 16, ran out to help his father and said he saw one of the boys pull something out of the trunk of their car.
“My son has no idea what he got out of the trunk. We don’t know if [Wright] was hit with something,” Karopchinsky said. She previously said the Wright’s injuries suggested he was beaten by more than just fists, saying: “You don’t get catastrophic brain damage from a fist fight.”
“[Wright] was on the ground … He’d stopped moving and the adult was still hitting him,” Karopchinsky told The Post. “The guy fighting him said out loud ‘Oh my God, he’s bleeding’, handed my son his dad’s necklaces that had come off, said ‘I’m sorry’ and to call 911.
“Then they all ran to the SUV and left.”
The next day, Karopchinsky lay with Wright while he was comatose in the hospital.
“I held his hands. You would have bruises from punching people. His hands weren’t swollen, nothing. He did not fight back. I don’t know how quickly he was unconscious but he never defended himself.
“The neurosurgeon came out to talk to me and explained they would do an emergency brain surgery. He had severe brain damage. The surgery lasted about three-and-a-half hours. By the time I was taken to him, his severe brain injury had turned into catastrophic brain injury.
“After the surgery they were doing constant CAT scans and they had stopped some bleeding in the brain, but he’d had a stroke and had bleeding from the brain stem [which] they couldn’t do anything about.”
Police have been tight-lipped about their investigation, saying Monday they suspected three to four adults had been involved in the attack. It was unclear if any arrests had been made by Thursday and no suspects have been named by authorities.
A candlelight vigil at a park near near Wright’s home has been organized for Friday night by his sister-in-law, Kristin Karopchinsky. A GoFundMe page for his family has raised about $34,000 out of its $50,000 goal.