The Facebook photo shows 51-year-old Dallasite Bobby Ray Carter Jr. grinning as he stands beside his son and a handful of friends chest deep in the crystal clear water. Behind him, the sandy beach, lush foliage and sheer cliff face suggest a tropical paradise.
The picture was taken outside the Thai resort town of Ao Nang and posted online on Sunday, two nights before Carter's fatal visit to the Longhorn Saloon, which promises ""good music, funfunfun and friendly staff".
The evening started out ordinarily enough. There was drinking, quite a bit of it judging from reports, and then karaoke with a live band. Carter hopped on stage and began to sing and then, according to The Associated Press, refused to leave.
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Witnesses told police that Carter was angry that the band began playing The Eagles' "Hotel California" instead of the piece he'd requested. Agence France-Presse reports that he demanded the band return the tip he'd just given them. They refused, and an argument ensued. At some point Carter's son Adam entered the fray.
Things cooled down, but only briefly. "After a while they came outside and started another argument with us," one of the band members, 27-year-old Ratikorn Romin, said in a statement to police obtained by the Phuket Gazette. "The father knocked me to the ground first, and I could not breathe because he was sitting on my chest. Then I spotted a sharp piece of metal nearby, so I grabbed it and stabbed him."
The iron rod penetrated Carter's chest. His son was struck in the head. Both, according to the International Business Times, were taken to a local hospital where the elder Carter was pronounced dead.
Employees at LED Cool Lights, Carter's Design District business, told the AP they'd been briefed on the death but had no additional comment.