Early Saturday morning, the father of a five-month-old baby, Chad Merrill, was fatally shot outside of a bar in York County, Pa. after reportedly defending his friend against racial slurs.
According to a probable cause affidavit, James Saylor entered the Red Rose Restaurant and Lounge where Merrill and his friend Jerrell Douglas were seated the bar. Saylor alledgedly squeezed between Merrill and Douglas and began directing racial slurs at Douglas, who did not engage. Hellam Township Police Chief Doug Pollock said, “You could tell he was giving [Douglas] crap…He’s being a jerk. It was a racial incident; that’s how it kicked off.”
Soon, the bar’s owner Nick Spagnolo kicked Saylor out. However, Merrill followed Saylor outside. Surveillance video captured Saylor attempting to get inside a vehicle that wasn’t his. He then proceeded to pull a gun out of his waistband and fired one shot toward the building before getting into his truck. An Uber car reportedly pulled up, preventing Saylor from leaving the parking lot. Merrill arrived outside and walked toward Saylor’s truck, at which point Saylor shot him in the chest through his window. Saylor drove away, hitting the Uber car. It is unclear if Merrill and Saylor exchanged any words before the shooting took place.
Following the incident, police were able to track Saylor and found him in his parent’s house, where he lived in the basement. At the house, they found the truck with the damage from the accident and the gun Saylor used inside the truck’s center console. He has been charged with criminal homicide and denied bail. Whether or not Merrill knew or had a relationship with Saylor is unknown. However, the mother of Merrill’s 5-month-old son said she attended high school with Saylor.
Merrill’s brother Richard Merrill said, “He was always the peacemaker. He didn’t want people hating each other or the world being segregated the way it is, with the racism you see all over the news. The world wants to keep everything segregated and he would rather have seen everybody get along.”