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Very Real

Pennsylvania Man Allegedly Shoots And Kills Young Father For Defending Black Man From Racist Rant At A Bar

After reportedly defending Jerrell Douglas from the shooter’s racist comments, Chad Merrill was shot and killed in the parking lot.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

A Pennsylvania man who was fatally shot outside of a bar on Saturday was killed after defending a black man who had been targeted and harassed by another patron, according to police.

Chad Merrill, 25, was shot and killed outside of the Red Rose Restaurant and Lounge in York, Pennsylvania at around 1 a.m., USA Today reports. James Saylor (shown above), the 24-year-old suspected gunman, is alleged to have harassed Jerrell Douglas, a black patron at the bar, earlier that night, using the N-word and other racial slurs, police told USA Today.

Merrill tried to get Douglas — who police say “did the right thing” and did not escalate the situation — to focus on him and ignore Saylor.

Bar owner Nick Spagnolo kicked Saylor out over his behavior, and once outside, Saylor pulled a .45-caliber handgun from his pants and fired a shot towards the bar, which bounced off the building and landed in the grass, before heading to his car, according to USA Today.

Surveillance footage also shows Merrill walking out of the bar and toward Saylor’s car in the parking lot; Merrill was standing near Saylor’s vehicle when Saylor allegedly shot him once in the chest, according to USA Today’s report.

Following the shooting, Saylor fled the scene, striking an Uber driver’s car in the process, USA Today reports. Saylor was later arrested at his parent’s home in Lower Windsor Township early Saturday morning, according to the York Daily Record. He has since been charged with one count of criminal homicide, the York Daily Record also reports.

During the police investigation, investigators found a gun in the center console of Saylor’s truck, as well as blood on the rear driver’s side door, according to USA Today. Penn Live reports that Saylor’s preliminary hearing is set for August 3.

Merrill, the father of a 5-month-old son, died about an hour after the shooting at York Hospital, the York Daily Record reports.

Detectives are not sure what Merrill’s intentions were in following Saylor to the parking lot, Hellam Township Police Chief Doug Pollock told USA Today. Pollock speculated to the outlet that Merrill may have been “trying to right the wrong,” which is in line with witness speculation that Merrill was intending to act as a peacekeeper that night.

[Photo: York County Sheriff's Office]