Police seek man in fatal shooting

Authorities are looking for a 20-year-old Rock Hill man in connection with this week's shooting death of Amber Marie Schiavone.

The Rock Hill Police Department has issued an arrest warrant for Carlos Luis Pinales Mejia of 1035 Hearn St., Apt. E, Lt. Jerry Waldrop said.

"He's wanted for murder," Waldrop said during a press conference held Friday morning in the lobby of the police department. "He is considered armed and dangerous."

A murder charge could carry up to a life imprisonment.

On Wednesday, authorities were called to Cherry Grove Apartments at 1061 Hearn St. around 5 p.m. Hearn Street is about 4 miles from downtown Rock Hill near Cherry Park.

"That is his residence where the body was discovered," Waldrop said. "His girlfriend found her."

Schiavone, 22, of 1113 Pecan Circle in Rock Hill was shot once with a handgun, said Waldrop, who declined to say what type of handgun was used or where Schiavone was shot.

According to police reports, Schiavone was found unresponsive in the hallway of Mejia's apartment. No one else was hurt during the incident, Waldrop said.

"She was dropped off at that apartment early Wednesday morning," Waldrop said. "They were acquaintances."

Schiavone's shooting death marks the first homicide of 2008 for the police department, Waldrop said.

Robert Schiavone, Schiavone's uncle, helped raised his niece.

"She was a happy person," said Robert Schiavone, who lives in Charlotte but formerly lived in Rock Hill. "I miss her. I don't know who will hold things together with her gone."

About two years ago, Amber Schiavone's mother, Tammy Burris Arthur, was a patient at The Burn Center at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina.

"Amber wouldn't leave her side," Robert Schiavone said. "She was the motherly type. She took care of everybody."

Trying to get life back on track

Schiavone formerly worked at the Aldi grocery store in Rock Hill and the Rock Hill Country Club, her uncle said. She was studying business administration at York Technical College before her mother died while at the burn center, he said.

Arthur's death took a toll on Schiavone, who later started making some "bad lifestyle choices," Robert Schiavone said. Some of those choices led to criminal charges, he said.

Schiavone's criminal history includes arrests for public disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, resisting arrest and possession of cocaine, according to the State Law Enforcement Division.

With the new year, Schiavone was trying to turn her life around, her uncle said.

"She was much happier the last few months," Robert Schiavone said.

Accused familiar to police

On Friday, a motive had not been determined for the shooting, Waldrop said.

"He is known to the (police) department," Waldrop said about Mejia. "He could possibly still be in the area."

Mejia's criminal history shows arrests ranging from reckless driving, operating a vehicle that is not registered, multiple counts of driving without a license and carrying a concealed weapon, according to SLED.

More recently, the Rock Hill Police Department charged Mejia with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature in connection with an incident at a local nightclub on Dec. 14, a police report notes. Mejia is on bond for that charge, an official said.

Officials believe Mejia is from the Dominican Republic, but they don't know if he legally resides in the United States, Waldrop said.

Anyone with information about Mejia's location or Wednesday's shooting should call the Rock Hill Police Department at 329-7200 or CrimeStoppers of York County at 1-877-409-4321.