A 25-year-old Pennsylvania man was shot and killed Saturday by a fellow bar patron who had berated his friend using racial epithets, police say.
James Saylor, 24, fatally shot Chad Merrill, the father of a four-month-old baby boy, around 1 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot of Red Rose Restaurant and Lounge in Hellam Township, according to the York County Sheriff’s Office.
The confrontation began inside the bar, where authorities say Saylor hurled racial slurs at Merrill’s friend, Jerrell Douglas, who is black. The bar’s owners ultimately removed Saylor from the premises, according to police.
Surveillance video shows Saylor getting into his pickup truck and firing a shot at the building. Merrill apparently walked outside toward Saylor, who then shot Merrill in the chest, police said. Neither the video nor witnesses suggested Merrill had shown any hostility toward Saylor, The Associated Press reported.
Merrill died at a local hospital an hour after the shooting, authorities said. Saylor was arrested Saturday and charged with one count of criminal homicide. He was denied bail, according to The Washington Post.
“Maybe [Merrill] was trying to right the wrong,” Hellam Township Police Chief Doug Pollock told the York Daily Record. “This is unusual. In the 16 or 17 years I’ve been here, there hasn’t been a homicide. It doesn’t happen here.”
Merrill’s mother, Pearl Awise, told the Daily Record that her son went to high school with Saylor. The extent of their relationship was not immediately clear.
A GoFundMe page created to raise money for Merrill’s funeral expenses describes him as “a new father to his adorable son Layton, a great son, brother, friend and person to all of those around him.”
“Every family has that one member who is a beacon of light and shines a little brighter [than] most people. That was our Chad,” Merrill’s brother Randy told HuffPost in a Facebook message. “You could count on him for anything. ... None of us are surprised that he went out being a hero.”
“As a new father myself, what hurts the most is that his son, who was born just two months after mine, will never know his dad,” he added. “He brought out the best in everyone. ... I will forever be proud of him.”
This story has been updated to include Randy Merrill’s comments.