Andrew Dys

Neighbors fearful after Rock Hill man, 77, killed at home

The Rock Hill Housing Authority apartment for low income seniors where police say 77-year-old resident Walter Marshall Faile was stabbed to death Thursday.
The Rock Hill Housing Authority apartment for low income seniors where police say 77-year-old resident Walter Marshall Faile was stabbed to death Thursday. Andrew Dys

Neighbors who live near the location where a 77-year-old man was stabbed to death in a public housing complex for seniors remain wary and fearful as the police investigation continues.

Walter Marshall Faile, who died from several stab wounds, was found when a Rock Hill Housing Authority worker bringing in an exterminator opened Failes’ door at 310 Hutchinson St. Thursday. They discovered Faile in “a pool” of blood covering the apartment’s living room floor. Faile had been stabbed in his head and chest.

“If it is a random crime, then I have a lot to be scared of,” said one neighbor whose was fearful of identifying herself because the attacker is still uncaught. “Or if he was targeted, then where does that leave the rest of us? The people here, most are elderly, some are disabled, sickly. There are all kinds of rumors flying around.”

It is unclear if Faile was robbed, or was targeted for another reason. Failed lived in Eastside Homes, a 56-unit housing authority project for older people where all tenants receive federal assistance toward rent. Many of the people at Eastside Homes are disabled – several use wheelchairs. All residents are “very low income,” according to the housing authority.

The housing complex is surrounded by single family homes, and the fact that a 77-year-old man would be killed from multiple stand wounds has scared several neighbors. Rock Hill Housing Authority does not have its own security personnel.

One neighbor, who also did not want to use her name, said Faile was known as Marshall and required oxygen for health conditions. Faile had fallen a couple of times before, the neighbor said, and other residents had to help him up. She did not know what happened Thursday with the stabbing, but said that several residents were questioned by police detectives.

“We don’t have security around here – people can walk through, cut through, any time they want,” the female resident said.

Another neighbor said he has heard gunshots in the area. Another neighbor who lives in the next building over said that he keeps his door locked and only opens it for family. However, the neighbor said the neighborhood has generally been safe – until Faile was stabbed.

Monday, four days after the crime, one resident hung clothes to dry behind his building. Other neighbors said that detectives had cordoned off the area Thursday after the crime, but little information had been given out to residents about the status of the investigation. And that uncertainty is heightened because there is a killer on the loose.

Dewayne Alford, a director of the Rock Hill Housing Authority, said Monday all residents have been notified of the crime and housing officials are working with the police department.

Police only were alerted to Faile’s death hours after after Faile died, said Capt Brent Allmon of the Rock Hill Police Department. Police do not have a suspect or a motive in the crime identified, Allmon said, but have sent off materials found at the crime scene for testing. Allmon declined to discuss specifics of what is being tested, if Faile had defensive wounds among his many stab injuries, or other specifics in the case.

“We are relying on good crime scene process to give us direction,” Allmon said.

Still, the idea of an uncaught killer has some on edge in the complex and neighborhood. Several other residents declined to talk about the incident, and even Faile’s sister when reached by telephone declined to talk about what happened and referred all questions to police.

The complex has people who are deaf and as old as upper 90s. Eastside Homes is several blocks east of downtown Rock Hill, but has no fences and no security officers. Faile’s apartment is in the front facing Hutchinson Street, but there is access to the apartments and parking lots from roads on all sides that border the small complex.

Officers have talked to many people in the neighborhood who knew Faile, and also talked to residents of the complex and nearby streets about safety, Allmon said. There has not been a pattern of similar crimes in that neighborhood or anywhere in the city, Allmon said, and officers in two canvasses of both the housing complex and neighborhood tried to alleviate any concerns about public safety residents might have.

“There has not been a pattern of other crimes, and no pattern of violence,” Allmon said.