Tragedy struck the Red Rose Restaurant and Lounge in York, Pennsylvania, this past Saturday. According to USA Today, a shooting happened after 25-year-old Chad Merrill was allegedly defending his friend from racial slurs that were being used against him, including the “n-word.”
This weekend, Merrill and his friend, Jerrell Douglas, were sitting at a bar when 24-year-old James Saylor entered the establishment and allegedly began to yell racial slurs at Douglas. At first, the Washington Post shares that Merrill tried to keep the peace, putting his hand on his friend’s back and telling him not to listen. Douglas took the advice of his friend and ignored Saylor’s comments before Saylor was eventually kicked out of the bar.
Soon after, Merrill was caught on surveillance camera leaving the bar to go and confront Saylor. Just before Merrill came out of the bar, the 24-year-old grabbed a gun from his waistband and fired a shot near the building. He then proceeded to get in his truck as Merrill walked out toward his car. It is unknown if there were any words exchanged between the two but it was thought that Merrill was going out to the parking lot to defend his friend.
When Merrill approached Saylor’s vehicle, he shot Merrill right in the chest, leaving him for dead. Saylor then tried to flee the scene, where he hit an Uber that was entering the parking lot. Authorities were later able to track him down to his parents’ house, where he reportedly lived in the basement.
Sadly, Merrill didn’t survive the shooting. He leaves behind a 5-month-old son. Chad’s brother, Richard Merrill, told media that it doesn’t surprise him that his brother died standing up for something that he believes in.
“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.”
At this time, it is unclear if Merrill and the shooter had a previous relationship though Saylor did attend the same high school as the mother of Merrill’s 5-month-old son. At this time, Saylor is being charged with criminal homicide and has been denied bail.
The Red Rose Lounge, where Chad was a regular, shared a post on their Facebook page along with a link to Merrill’s Go Fund Me page.
“We would like to extend our most heartfelt condolences to the Merrill family. Please know that our sincere thoughts and prayers are with you,” they wrote.
So far, the Go Fund Me page has already surpassed its goal of $15,000 to cover funeral expenses, with over $19,000 being raised in the two days. The family says that the extra money from the page will go toward Merrill’s young son, Layton.
Many fans have also took to the page to declare Chad a hero.
“To die defending honor, justice, love, and compassion, makes Chad a true hero in my eyes,” one donor wrote.