A black man’s white knight was shot and killed over the weekend for coming to his aid after being denigrated by another white man. Chad Merrill was attempting to defuse an already tense situation and paid with his life. The man he was sticking up for was being subjected to racial slurs and other verbal abuse.
The York Daily Record reports the fatal encounter began when James Saylor, the alleged killer, squeezed his way into a group of men seated at the bar. One of those men was Jerrell Douglas, his initial victim. Saylor reportedly began spewing racial slurs and verbally harassing Douglas at the bar. The situation reached a fever pitch prompting the owner, Nick Spagnolo, to intervene. Eventually, Spagnolo kicked Saylor out of the Red Rose Restaurant and Lounge in York, Pa.
Camera footage shows Saylor walking out and to the parking lot and over to a pickup truck. He attempts to get into the vehicle, but it is not able to gain access. He realizes that the truck isn’t his and moves on. Saylor then pulls a gun from his shorts, half-turns toward the bar and fires the weapon.
Saylor eventually finally finds his truck and gets inside and starts the engine, police noted. At the same time an Uber driver pulls into the lot behind Saylor. The white knight exits the bar at the same time and the pair cross paths again.
According to police, it is not clear what, if any words were exchanged before Saylor allegedly fired the fatal shot, but the bullet struck Merrill right in the chest. Saylor sped off, hitting the Uber driver’s vehicle as he left.
“He was right there, standing next to the truck,” Hellam Township Police Chief Doug Pollock said.
Police quickly tracked down Saylor after he was identified as a suspect, nabbing him at his parents’ home where he lives in the basement. Investigators found his pickup truck, which still had fresh damage from crashing into the Uber driver, and they also found blood on the rear driver’s side door of Saylor’s truck. The cops also found his gun in the truck’s center console along with a shell casing from the bullet that killed Merrill.
Saylor acknowledging owning the gun but claimed he had no knowledge of the shooting.
“He never once acted like he knew what he did,” Pollock noted.
Saylor is facing charges of criminal homicide and has been denied bail.
Meanwhile, Merrill’s family, including his new 5-month-old son, are trying to figure out how to continue on.
“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,” his brother, Richard Merrill told the Washington Post. “The world wants to keep everything segregated and he would rather have seen everybody get along.”