Crime & Courts

Rock Hill student and mother, 17, dies in ‘random’ York shooting

E’monnie Dixon, 17, and her 2-month-old son, Kariel Smith
E’monnie Dixon, 17, and her 2-month-old son, Kariel Smith Contributed photo

A 17-year-old Rock Hill High School student who was the mother of a young baby died after a Sunday morning shooting in York that police characterized as random.

The deceased teen was identified as E’monnie Dixon, said the York County Coroner’s Office. Family members said she was the mother of a 2-month-old baby boy and was to graduate from Rock Hill High in 2017.

Police responded to a report of shots fired on Hickory Lane at 1:40 a.m. Sunday, said York Police Chief Andy Robinson. On the way to the call, Robinson said, officers were told someone had been shot.

A large crowd was gathered outside a home in the 100 block of Hickory Lane and officers found a female victim with a gunshot wound lying in a yard near a vehicle, Robinson said.

Officers applied pressure to the gunshot wound until Emergency Medical Service workers arrived and transported her to Piedmont Medical Center, where she died, Robinson said.

“It appears to be random, and that she just got caught in the crossfire,” Robinson said Sunday. “She was not targeted, we don’t believe.”

Robinson said police were trying to piece together what happened from interviews with those at the scene. He said some people left after the shooting and police were trying to track them down.

Robinson said police were told there was a party at a different York residence earlier in the night that broke up, and some people at that party “migrated over to Hickory Lane.”

He said someone reportedly emerged from one of the homes on Hickory Lane, which is a dead-end street, and told the crowd that those who didn’t live in the area needed to leave.

Robinson said that is apparently when the shooting began.

He did not know if there was one shooter or more than one. York police detectives and forensic services responded to process evidence and interview witnesses, he said.

‘Happy girl’

Family members of the deceased teen gathered Sunday at a Cathen Street home in Rock Hill where she lived with her mother, her grandmother, several siblings and her baby, Kariel Smith.

Grandmother Sarah Smith said Dixon worked at the Wendy’s restaurant on Heckle Boulevard in Rock Hill to support her son and attended classes. She was a good student with many friends, she said.

“She was our Barbie doll,” Smith said. “She loved people; she was a happy girl.”

Smith said Dixon went to a York party Saturday night with her sister, a friend, a cousin and several other girls. She said the girls were leaving a Hickory Lane home when the shooting began.

Smith said someone saw a person in the crowd carrying a gun “and all her friends were leaving. Someone just opened fire, and they shot her. She said, ‘I’ve been shot.’”

Nicole Byrum, a Cauthen Street neighbor who sometimes helped care for Dixon’s baby, said the teen was a good mother. “That baby will never know how wonderful his mother was,” Byrum said. “She was such a good mother, and she wanted so much for him.”

Smith said family members will take care of the baby.

Robinson said the Hickory Lane area is a place where crowds have gathered in the past. He said patrol officers saw a crowd begin to gather there Saturday night and rode by to let them know police were aware.

Robinson said the case is under investigation. He said anyone with information should call the York County Crimestoppers hotline at 1-877-409-4321.

Dixon was the second teen to die by a gun over the weekend. A 17-year-old Rock Hill teen died Saturday night in a Rock Hill shooting police have ruled accidental.

Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077