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Teen charged in fight at Rock Hill vigil was wanted for burglary, assault

Two people, including a teen wanted by police for an unrelated crime, were arrested after a fight at the end Wednesday evening’s stop the violence vigil at a Rock Hill park.

One of the men charged, Zacharia Olajawon Ashley, 17, shouted obscenities at police, then fled on foot before being caught, said Capt. Mark Bollinger of the Rock Hill Police Department.

After catching Ashley among hundreds of vigil attendees, police found that he was wanted on charges of burglary and felony assault. Those charges are in connection with a Wednesday evening incident shortly before the vigil, where Ashley is accused of using a knife to threaten a woman, according to police and court testimony.

In court Thursday, Ashley said, “I don’t get a burglary if I didn’t break into the house,” but Judge Kesha Simpkins cut him off. The alleged victim in the burglary and assault, who lives near Ashley, was so terrified that she said she locked herself in a room.

Thursday she told Simkins: “I don’t feel safe if he is out.”

Simpkins denied bond to Ashley on both the assault charge, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, and the burglary charge, which could mean a life sentence.

When leaving the bond hearing, held with Ashley via videoconference from the city jail, Ashley used profanity toward the court and judge.

That came less than a day after Ashley is accused of being in a tirade at the end of the vigil and using profanity toward police officers. After the fight, some in the crowd ran in fear.

The vigil was in response to the Sunday night fatal shooting of Quantavious “Quan” Torbit, a 17-year-old rising senior at South Pointe High School.

The vigil at Arcade-Victoria Park was without incident until the end, when cursing and then the fight happened, Bollinger said. Several officers were stationed at and around the vigil. No one was hurt in the melee at the end of the vigil, Bollinger said.

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

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 described what Bollinger called a “scuffle” as a “large fight.” An officer saw the juvenile yelling profanity and the juvenile was detained, the report states.

The fight, 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 to seek 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 and how they handled the crowd.

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

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