Batman is coming back to South Carolina, and again it is for one of the saddest occasions imaginable.
John Buckland, also known as Batman, will attend the funeral of Korbin Williams. That is the 8-year-old who was identified by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office as the boy who was attacked by three dogs Dec. 1 and later died from the injuries.
Buckland, dressed as Batman, spoke at the superhero-themed funeral service for Jacob Hall in 2016. Hall, a first grader died from injuries suffered when he was wounded in a shooting at Townville Elementary. Another student and a teacher were also shot and survived.
Hall’s tiny body was dressed in a Batman costume for his wake, where hundreds of mourners dressed as superheroes in his honor.
Buckland, of Huntington, W.V., was among those in attendance and eulogized Hall at the wake, dressed as Batman.
Korbin Williams loved monster trucks and his favorite superhero was Batman, according to his obituary. Word of that reached Buckland, who will attend Williams’ memorial service, which will be held Thursday at 4 p.m. at Orchard Street Baptist Church.
“Thursday will be a heavy but hope filled trip to South Carolina,” Buckland wrote in a Facebook post. “We will honor Korbin as he is laid to rest.”
On the Heroes 4 Higher website, Buckland says he dons the Caped Crusader’s costume “to prepare our youth for the challenges faced in our schools and community.”
According to the website, Buckland is a career firefighter, including 2 years of service in Iraq as a Deptartment of Defense Firefighter from 2009-11.
In addition to honoring Williams, Buckland said he will do something special for an 8-year-old friend of Williams, who was injured when he tried to fight off the dogs and save his friend.
“I will be meeting (him) along the route of my drive down in The Hopemobile/Batmobile” Buckland wrote on Facebook. “At our meeting place he will jump in the Batmobile & we will be escorted to the service location by law enforcement and motorcycles.”
Williams and the friend were walking near his Gaffney home around 3:45 p.m. Friday when three dogs attacked them. Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said the friend was bitten once on the leg, but the dogs kept attacking Williams, biting him all over his body.
“While the dogs were still attacking (Williams), his friend ran to his nearby home for help,” Fowler said. “The friend’s mother and neighbor rushed to Korbin and called 911.”
Fowler said Williams was pronounced dead at the scene, dying from blood loss.
The coroner said deputies killed two of the dogs when they tried to attack them near the scene, and the third dog was killed by a neighbor who reported it was acting aggressive the following day.
Fowler said the boy played with the dogs and had just fed them minutes before they mauled him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.