Crime & Courts

Police: Staffer at Rock Hill homeless warming center assaulted over lack of beds

A staff member at a warming center was assaulted by a homeless man because the shelter didn’t have a bed for him to sleep on, according to a Rock Hill police report.

Police were called to the warming center at Bethel United Methodist Church on Curtis Street at 10:15 p.m. Monday after a 61-year-old man was struck in the face.

The victim, who provides security at the center that gives people with a place to sleep on cold nights, said the assault occurred when he informed a 49-year-old man he would have to sleep on a couch for the night because the center had already filled all the beds.

The man became angry that there was no bed available, began yelling at the security guard and finally backhanded him across the face, the report states.

The suspect then left the church. Police searched the area but were unable to locate him.

Operated by the United Way of York County, the warming station at Bethel is already close to capacity early in the season. Since it opened its doors two weeks ago, the Bethel shelter has served between 18 to 25 men nightly.

The shelter usually serves between eight to 12 members in November, United Way President Rebecca Melton told the Herald.

On Giving Tuesday this week, the United Way received a $5,000 grant from Bank of America that will be used for an on-site supervisor at the shelter between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The warming center depends on a mix of paid staff and volunteers to operate.

Herald business editor Don Worthington contributed to this report.

Bristow Marchant: 803-329-4062, @BristowatHome