Former York Comprehensive High athlete accused of stealing, assault

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comFebruary 24, 2014 

Ryheem Rushing

ANDY BURRISS — aburriss@heraldonline.com Buy Photo

— A former York Comprehensive High football player is accused of stealing a shirt from Walmart, running into a 7-year-old boy as he rushed out of the store and then admitting to the crime after ditching the shirt in front of another store.

Warrants have been issued for Ryheem Rushing, 18, that will charge him with shoplifting and third-degree assault and battery. By Monday evening, he had not been arrested, after agreeing last week to turn himself in to authorities.

Rushing, 18, was a defensive lineman for York Comprehensive High School. Three weeks ago, he signed a letter of intent to play football at Limestone College in Gaffney.

Athletics officials at Limestone College did not learn about Rushing’s charges until Monday when they were contacted by The Herald. A school spokesman declined to comment, aside from saying that officials will evaluate the allegations against Rushing and make a decision.

Until then, his status is unclear. His mother declined to comment Monday.

Last Thursday, police were sent to the Walmart on East Liberty Street in York after employees reported that a man wearing black shorts, a black tank top and sporting a flat top haircut stuffed a shirt into his book bag, the report states.

A store loss prevention employee told officers the suspect went through the men’s clothing department and stuffed a $9 checkered black-and-white button-down shirt into his book bag. The employee chased Rushing through the store as he ran toward the side doors.

Outside, Benjamin Russell was walking into the store carrying his 5-month-old son, while his 7-year-old son walked beside him. Russell told The Herald he looked up and saw Rushing headed straight for him and his sons. He turned his body away to shield his youngest son as Rushing smashed into him, causing the door to hit Russell.

Russell said he was unable to grab his 7-year-old son before Rushing knocked the boy to the ground. The blow left the boy with a bloody gash on his head, Russell said, and injured his arm and elbows, which were swollen. Both father and son received medical treatment.

“It happened so quick,” Russell said on Monday. “He could have really badly hurt someone.”

Russell learned Rushing’s name from a shopper, a York One Academy teacher, who recognized the fleeing teen, the police report states. The report indicates that Rushing recently returned to York Comprehensive High School after a stint at the alternative school. He is a senior.

Russell told authorities he wanted to press assault charges against Rushing for his son’s injuries. On Monday, he maintained his stance that charges be filed, though he also said he hopes someone shows Rushing “direction in life.”

He faults Walmart employees for endangering other shoppers by chasing Rushing through the store.

“What if he would’ve been a guy carrying a gun?” Russell said. “They had cameras to have him arrested. I don’t understand why they were chasing him ... they should have just let him go.”

Police reviewed surveillance video of the incident, matching it with another picture of Rushing. They went to his home and spoke with his parents, who called their son downstairs, the report states. On the front porch, officers say Rushing “confessed” that he took the shirt from Walmart and then threw it away in front of the Bi-Lo on East Liberty Street.

Rushing’s parents agreed to take him to the police department on Friday to turn himself in after authorities issued warrants against him. Police drove to Bi-Lo, found the shirt in a puddle and returned it to Walmart.

Police did not arrest Rushing at his home because they felt confident he would turn himself in and did not consider him a flight risk, said York Police Detective William Mumaw.

“He was at home,” he said. “We knew he wasn’t going anywhere.”

Rushing turned himself in to police Monday night.

Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082

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