Someone knows who shot Alice Walker’s son in the back, two days shy of his 30th birthday, leaving him to die on the front steps of his cousin’s Rock Hill home last October.
Craving justice but grounded by prayer, Walker said all she wants is the gunman, or at least witnesses, to come forward and help give her family answers. Police are asking the same.
Investigators are soliciting witnesses to share details that might uncover who killed Daniel Ervin, Rock Hill’s second homicide victim in 2013. They also are seeking new information in the 2010 slaying of Arthur Massard, shot to death as he lay in a bed beside his girlfriend.
“Ultimately, we’re hoping to find, in both instances, the suspects who committed these murders,” said Rock Hill Police Sgt. Jim Lubben, who works on homicide and cold cases.
Walker said she prays that if “somebody in this city” knows what happened, they’ll be “remorseful enough to tell the truth.”
“Why pull a gun and shoot him? Are you a coward? “ she said. “A born coward, that’s what it is. (Ervin) didn’t have a chance to defend himself.”
At about 9 p.m. Oct. 16, relatives and friends gathered at 940 Pebble Road. Mostly everyone was inside, watching television. Ervin, whose mother called him a “loving person,” stayed outside in his blue Oldsmobile. Two others, a man and woman, joined him.
What happened next remains unclear except that at about 9:15 p.m., shots were fired. Ervin was hit once near his lower back, the bullet tearing into his stomach as he staggered onto the front steps of the house. His family rushed outside. There was no shooter in sight. The man and woman inside the car, police said, claimed they did not see who fired the gun. Police do not consider them suspects. Ervin was pronounced dead at Piedmont Medical Center.
“We’ve pretty much talked to everybody in the house and the people that were outside,” Lubben said. “Nobody actually saw the shooting occur, so there’s no suspect description or anything like that that we can go with.”
Still, Lubben said police have “some suspects in mind and some leads that we’re looking into.” A gun, loaded with a few rounds, was found near the house. Police believe it was used in the shooting.
Ervin is survived by three daughters, 10, 9 and 5. His oldest, Walker said, has told her grandparents she prays that the person who killed her father will be found.
“Any parent will have a lot of sleepless nights,” Walker said. “You will always carry them in your heart. I’ve put it in (God’s) hands. I’m waiting on an answer.”
At 122 N. Wilson St., the house where Arthur Massard died, a large red “X” has been spray-painted over the vinyl exterior. The house is dark and the property condemned. Notices from the city slate it for involuntary demolition.
At about 4 a.m. Nov. 30, 2010, police say a masked man wearing a hoodie broke into the back of the house, went into the bedroom and turned on the light. Massard and Dorothy McKee were asleep inside. The suspect opened fire, shooting Massard several times before he ran out the front door. Dorothy McKee was not injured.
Danny McKee, Dorothy McKee’s son who lived with her, told police he went to the front door and saw a white Mercury Grand Marquis with a missing hubcap drive away from the house toward Main Street. Finding that car, with an unknown license plate number, has not been easy, Lubben said.
Police have identified suspects, but they would not detail any kind of specific connections they might have with the dead man.
Dorothy McKee was never considered a suspect, Lubben said.
“Nothing’s pointing to her having anything to do with it,” he said. Danny McKee also is not considered a suspect, but a witness.
A weapon was never found. Police are speaking with Massard’s friends, hoping they can discern who his associates were or “what kind of lifestyle he was leading.”
“(His death) doesn’t appear to be random, but I can’t really go into details of why we’re thinking that,” Lubben said, adding that police don’t want to release information that might jeopardize the investigation. “We’re not going to stop looking into these cases.”
‘It’s rough on me’
There are days Patricia Boulware wonders if the search for her son’s killer has stopped.
Jamar Ferguson, 31, was shot to death and left to die on Taylor Street, off Crawford Road, in April 2012. Police arrested one person in the killing, but soon dismissed those charges. That man is now free and Boulware says she sees him nearly every day.
“It’s rough on me,” she said. “’It’s been two years and my son is dead and gone and I’m still stressed.”
Ferguson’s death is one of four homicides in 2012 that have gone without resolutions or arrests.
Police say those cases are not unsolved, but investigators have faced challenges because evidence connecting suspects to the crimes has not been strong enough to ensure convictions.
Frustrated, Boulware has asked police if she has to “play detective myself ... do I have to solve my own case?”
“It’s just terrible,” she said. “I pray every day ... every day. Something’s going to give.”
Jonathan McFadden • 803-329-4082