2 charged after ‘scuffle’ at end of Rock Hill vigil for slain teen, police say

Zacharia Olajawon Ashley
Zacharia Olajawon Ashley

Two people were arrested late Wednesday after a “scuffle” at the end of a stop the violence vigil at a Rock Hill park where a teen was gunned down Sunday, Rock Hill police said.

The vigil at Arcade-Victoria Park, attended by several hundred people, was without incident until the end, when cursing and then scuffling happened, said Capt. Mark Bollinger, spokesman for the Rock Hill Police Department.

The police department had several officers stationed at and around the vigil in plain clothes and in uniform to ensure public safety.

No one was hurt, Bollinger said.

“There was a scuffle there at the end, a lot of yelling, and then people running away,” Bollinger said.

Zacharia Olajawon Ashley, 17, was charged with disorderly conduct in connection with the scuffle, and was held in jail because of an outstanding warrant on an unrelated matter, Bollinger said.

Ashley yelled and cursed at a police sergeant in uniform, and also cursed the police department, a police incident report states.

As several officers arrived to help take Ashley into custody, he fled on foot, and was caught after a short chase, the report shows.

A juvenile, whose name was not released, also was charged with disorderly conduct, Bollinger said. The juvenile, who was petitioned to Family Court on the charge, is accused of yelling profanity while standing in the middle of the street next to the park, Bollinger said.

The police report called the scuffle a “large fight” that happened at the “stop the violence” vigil. An officer saw the juvenile yelling profanity and the juvenile was detained, the report states.

The scuffle, which came at the end of a night of unity, with calls for young people to make better choices, was unfortunate and wrong, said Rev. C.T. Kirk, a Rock Hill minister and middle school teacher who witnessed it.

Many people brought small children, and there were people of all ages who attended the vigil to seek out better solutions for young people, Kirk said.

“After an event that was aimed at our young people making better decisions, and helping them, it was very disrespectful and wrong for anyone to fight,” Kirk said. “It was awful.”

Kirk praised the Rock Hill police presence at the vigil and how police handled the crowd after the scuffle.

“The police were great, and very professional,” Kirk said.