Several hundred people, most of them young, attended a vigil Wednesday night at the Rock Hill park where a teen was gunned down Sunday after a Facebook fight. Prayers were said, hands were held, tears were shed, on the very spot where the fatal shooting happened.
And it all happened as Rock Hill police officers, in uniform and plain clothes, ringed the crowd and circled the park in police cars to make sure the event was safe and those in attendance felt secure.
Quantavious “Quan” Torbit, 17, a rising senior at South Pointe High School, died after he was shot in front of his mother following the fight at the park involving his twin sister.
The vigil at Arcade-Victoria Park honoring Torbit was somber. Several community activists challenged the young people in attendance to make better choices than fights that turn deadly with guns. A gauntlet was laid down by several adults about black-on-black crime and perceiving the police as an enemy.
The crowd had a mix of people, including many of different races and ages who held hands and asked each other for unity.
“This whole thing could have been stopped if someone had called 911 and said there was a fight, but instead y’all had your phones out and were putting it on Facebook,” said Cedric Thompson, whose son was one of Torbit’s best friends. “I’m mad at y’all ... How many lives do we have to lose?”
Convicted felon Demetric Houze, 25, of Rock Hill, is jailed without bond on a murder charge. Houze was charged by Rock Hill police while in court for another matter Monday.
One young man emotionally spoke at the vigil about how hurt he was in losing his friend and how he wanted revenge. But Thompson and other adults at the vigil said that the police in Rock Hill handle crimes – not vigilantes and not street justice.
Several family members of Torbit spoke about making better choices and securing a future outside of fights, guns and trouble.
The Sunday shooting left Torbit dead and a woman, 20, hit in the leg by a stray bullet in the incident, police said. Another stray bullet Sunday tore through the wall of a nearby home where small children were inside.
Later Sunday night in other city violence, a man was shot on Walnut Street in Rock Hill but police have not said the incidents are related.