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April 27, 2012

Rock Hill shooting victim remembered at candlelight vigil

The mother of shooting victim Jamar Ferguson led dozens of family members, friends and clergy on a march through Rock Hill Thursday night.

Last Friday was going to be special for Patricia Boulware.

A longtime manager at a Rock Hill Burger King, Boulware prepared to go in for her last day of work before some much-needed vacation.

Her son, 32-year-old Jamar Ferguson, joked that he didn’t think she should go on that vacation without him.

She agreed. The plan, Boulware said, was that she and her “quiet, loving” child would vacation together next year.

But, because of a bullet fired by an unknown assailant, those plans changed.

“My son was not a gangbanger or drug dealer,” Boulware said on Thursday night, moments before she and close to 75 people marched from Boulware’s Simrill Street home to Taylor Street in a candlelight vigil to honor Jamar’s memory.

Just before midnight last Friday, police were called to Taylor Street when residents reported hearing gunshots.

When officers arrived, they found Jamar lying in the road with multiple gunshot wounds.

He was taken to Piedmont Medical Center, where he died.

Nearly a week after the shooting – Rock Hill’s third homicide this year – there are few developments in the case.

Police don’t have a suspect in custody, said Lt. Brent Allmon of the Rock Hill Police Department.

There were no additional leads on Thursday, but authorities are looking at all angles, Allmon said.

It’s little comfort for Boulware.

She doesn’t understand who would kill Jamar, or why. So, she offered a plea.

“I just ask that the person who did this turn themselves in, please,” she said.

Pastor Demorrious Robinson prayed the same.

Robinson, who pastors at New Life Church in Chester, said he practically grew up with Jamar.

“Touch the heart of whoever is responsible for this hideous crime,” Robinson prayed at the vigil’s start.

Friends and family filed in two lines. As they crossed from Simrill Street to Crawford Road, some marchers wore shirts bearing pictures of a smiling Jamar Ferguson.

It was a smile Kaleena Arcelay said the father of her children always had.

“He was a really good person,” said Arcelay, 29.

Their children – 9-year-old Cianna and 8-year-old Jamar Ferguson – are in shock, she said.

Thursday night, they were doing well. But, Arcelay fears that today and Saturday “will be devastating.”

Quel Duru, Jamar’s first cousin, remembered that every time they saw each other, Jamar would give her a hug and kiss on the cheek.

Michael Baxter, a resident of the neighborhood, knew Jamar for years.

“He was a good dude there’s nothing bad you can say about him,” he said.

At Taylor Street, Boulware wept. Walkers lit candles. Pastor Robinson hammered a wooden cross and wreath into the ground. Arcelay read a poem.

Pastor Daniel Chisholm hoped that Jamar’s family and friends pray for the person who shot Jamar.

The Rev. Mark Dixon told Sandra Miller, Jamar’s aunt and vigil organizer, not to “worry about this brother.”

“He stood on this word,” Dixon said as he clutched a Bible.

Dixon, assistant pastor at Worldwide Ministries in Rock Hill, spoke of Jamar’s devotion to evangelism and God, noting that the 32-year-old father always brought someone else to church with him.

One Saturday, Dixon walked the neighborhood, looking for people to minister to. He only found Jamar.

For the next 20 minutes, the two men talked about God’s goodness, Dixon said.

“It takes just one for God to move,” he said.

That day, Jamar was the one.

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