Jeremy Seaton believes the bullet that killed his father Sunday night was meant for him.
Seaton, 22, his father and three friends were on their way to shoot pool at a York City bar when gunshots rang out shortly before midnight. The five men scrambled for cover.
At that moment, Rodney Eugene Seaton did the last thing he would ever do for his son.
"He pushed me out of the way and took the bullet for me," Jeremy Seaton said. "He saved my life."
Rodney Seaton, 48, of the 300 block of West Market Street in York City, died at the scene after a bullet traveled through his arm and struck him in the chest near the corner of West Market and Newberry streets. The police investigation continues.
"Before he went, I gave him a kiss on his forehead and told him I loved him," Jeremy Seaton said Thursday.
Also shot was Rodney Seaton's friend and neighbor, 56-year-old Vincent Howze of the 400 block of West Market Street.
Jeremy Seaton, whose middle name is Rodney, said he doesn't know who was holding the gun that night.
But he thinks the shooting is the result of a mistaken identity. The shooter "could have thought any one of us was somebody else," he said.
Days after his death, Rodney Seaton's family is remembering a man who never missed a chance to say, "I love you."
The Navy veteran, loyal Philadelphia sports fan and father of four was a proud and generous family man, said his brother, Eddie Seaton.
"He was more important to me than he probably knew," Eddie Seaton said. "He honestly probably had a bigger heart than he had pockets. He seriously would go broke to take care of somebody else if they needed stuff."
For Stephanie Seaton, Rodney Seaton was the boy whose attention she craved as a teenager. He lived a few doors down the street in her Philadelphia neighborhood. At 17, Stephanie Seaton said, she sat outside waiting for him to walk by.
"I would just sit out there every day until he finally said something to me," she said.
Finally, he did. The two married in 1985 and had four children - three daughters and a son.
Though the couple divorced years later, they remained close friends, Stephanie Seaton said.
And his devotion to his family continued, she said. When Stephanie Seaton moved to York, Rodney Seaton soon followed. He wanted to be near his children and grandchildren, she said.
"He was a dad that loved his kids," she said.
As a young man, Rodney Seaton worked as an electrician and a nursing assistant.
"He liked caring for people," Stephanie Seaton said. "As he grew up, he did all kinds of work on houses."
Rodney Seaton was a funny guy and a hard worker, said his daughter, Sharee McFadden.
"He definitely passed his sense of humor on," she said. "He stood up for what was right and helped wherever he could."
For Shelby Seaton, his youngest daughter, that help came in the form of a hand-me-down camera that sparked her interest in photography.
"He was just so supportive of all of us," the York College student said.
Stephanie Seaton said she last saw her ex-husband the night he died. As he often did, Rodney Seaton reminded the mother of his children that he loved her.
Stephanie Seaton said she believes Rodney Seaton's death was the result of a random, spontaneous act of violence. She said neither her ex-husband nor her son was involved in anything that might make them a target.
"Nobody could say nothing really mean about him. He wasn't a troublemaker. He did honest work," Stephanie Seaton said. "He was just a guy out there, 48 years old, drank a little, had fun, worked and loved his family."
"I never would have expected to get that call," she said.
Rodney Seaton's family has planned a memorial service for 11 a.m. Monday at New Covenant Community Church, 701 W. King St. in York City.
Anyone with information about Seaton's killing is asked to call detectives at 849-2219, or call the city's anonymous crime tip line, 849-2204. Or text a tip to YORKTIPS at 847411.
- Erin James may also be reached at email@example.com.