A week after a rash of violence in Rock Hill that left one dead and several injured in four shooting incidents – including a brazen killing in broad daylight on a busy city street – religious and community leaders have planned a march for Saturday to try to halt the bloodshed.
The “Because I Care” march was put together quickly by the Rev. Derrick Belton of Rock Hill and others.
The event is “not a protest march,” Belton said, “but a call to action for all of the people of Rock Hill to try to stop the troubles that are affecting mainly young people in the city.
“What can we do as a community to come together? The answer is, tackle this together.”
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Rock Hill residents need to find a way to work with police to stop the violence, Belton said.
The march, set for 11 a.m. Saturday, will start at Friedheim Park, 300 Friedheim Road just two blocks south of downtown. The group will walk from the park to Wilson Street, Scoggins Street and other streets in a short tour of the neighborhood.
Belton felt spurred to action after a heinous homicide on Scoggins Street in November, after which three men were charged and a fourth is still being sought. The March 3 and 4 shootings that left one person dead and four injured stunned Rock Hill and scared people in the neighborhoods where the shootings happened.
Last week, that violence played out in Wild West gunslinger fashion, as terrified neighbors found a shot-up car on Keels Avenue, a dead 18-year-old man inside. Jarrius Harding was killed at the scene. Only one arrest – another person in the car – has been made in connection with the shooting east of downtown that sent the entire detective division of the Rock Hill Police Department into the streets in a dragnet.
In the other cases on Rock Hill’s southern side, three people were shot in one home, and two other houses were shot up with gunfire March 3. In one case, children had been inside the house when bullets peppered the home.
“There are many people in this community who are very concerned,” Belton said. “This is a way to show everyone affected – and violence affects us all – that it is not acceptable.”
Rock Hill police officers – detectives with the department are investigating all the recent shootings – will be on hand, including William Andrews, a community resource officer who is assigned to the neighborhood. The department believes the march and community’s call to action is a positive step, said Capt. Mark Bollinger, spokesman for the department.
After the march, refreshments and information tables set up by service organizations, churches and other groups will be available until 2 p.m.
Other leaders from York County – including Steve Love of York, a local and state NAACP official who organized and held a Peacekeepers March in York last year – are helping Belton with Saturday’s march.
“One thing we know,” Love said. “To do nothing is no solution.”
Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065; firstname.lastname@example.org