Police: Man assaulted Rock Hill store clerk with baseball bat

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comJune 2, 2014 

Brandy Harris

— Stitches line the back of a Rock Hill store clerk’s head after police say a would-be customer hit him with a baseball bat Friday night after the employee kicked him out of the store while he tried to buy beer.

Employees at the Park Grocery store on East Main Street demanded Brandy Vernon Harris, 35, leave after he allegedly started causing problems, according to police. He returned at about 10 p.m. and hit Tae Young Jin in the head with a baseball bat.

Jin, 36, was getting into his car leaving work when Harris attacked him and then fled the scene, police say.

Jin, who was bleeding from the back of his head when officers arrived, told police that he felt tired and was afraid his skull had been "deformed" as a result of the attack, according to a Rock Hill police report. He was taken to Carolinas Medical Center, where he told The Herald on Monday that he received six to seven stitches in the back of his head.

Police on Saturday arrested Harris, charging him with attempted murder. He was being held Monday at the York County Detention Center on a $250,000 bond. Investigators found the baseball bat at Harris' East Main Street home right next to the store.

Store employees declined to comment on Monday.

Jin said Harris had been a frequent customer at the store in the past, but was asked not to return several months ago when he kept causing problems. Earlier on Friday, Harris went to Park Grocery to purchase beer. Jin refused to sell him any and told him to get out. Harris, Jin said, began “cussing out the boss.”

“He swung at me,” Jin said, and “he got one...I got one.”

Linda Davis, Harris’ girlfriend, said Harris went to the store to buy beer while he was cutting grass. She is unsure what happened inside, but she said her boyfriend left the store angry because he believed he had been hit in the head with a pair of brass knuckles. Hospital officials confirmed that Harris went to Piedmont Medical Center, where he was treated and released. Davis said that Harris, like his alleged victim, required stitches.

Davis, who did not witness the assault, said Harris and Jin had gotten in “heated discussions” in the past. Harris, she said, is a “good debater” and pushes his point until he’s won an argument.

“He wants people to like him,” she said.

On Monday, Jin, who did not want to speak negatively about Harris, said he did not hit the man with brass knuckles, but “my own knuckles,” adding that he did so in self-defense. Hours later, as he prepared to leave work, he felt something hit his back. He saw his boss run out of the store screaming. Seconds later, he hit the ground and blacked out.

He woke up moments later with blood trickling from the back of his skull.

By the time his alleged attacker was in police custody early Saturday, Jin had left the hospital with stitches in his head.

“I’ve been resting since then,” he said, adding that he suffers from occasional dizziness.

“I never blanked out like that in my life,” he said. “I thought that stuff only happens in cartoons.”

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