Police: Kids harassed homicide victim before assault

Christopher Dornblaser
  • Police say Kwamiere Durham, 18, hit Oscar Cherry, 25, in the head Monday night.
  • Cherry later died from his injuries, according to officials.

A York City man accused of causing Oscar Cherry III's death by punching him in the head was summoned to the park by a group of youths who had been making fun of Cherry minutes earlier, according to police.

Family and friends gather at Girard Park to remember Oscar Cherry III, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. John A. Pavoncello photo

Kwamiere Bernard Durham allegedly assaulted Cherry, 25, in Girard Park on Monday night after two of his young cousins complained to Durham about Cherry, according to charging documents filed by York City Police.

Cherry died of his injuries Tuesday at York Hospital, according to the York County Coroner's Office.

Oscar Cherry III
(Photo courtesy of Facebook)

Durham, 18, of 361 Pattison St., is charged with homicide and aggravated assault, and remains in York County Prison without bail.

York City Police were sent to the area of East Maple Street and Girard Avenue about 7:50 p.m. Monday for a report of an assault. When officers arrived, Cherry was found lying on the basketball court, unconscious, with shallow breathing, documents state.

He had injuries to the back of his head, and blood was coming out of his ears, police said.

Cherry, who lived on East Boundary Avenue, was rushed to York Hospital's intensive care unit.

According to police, Cherry was at the park with children he was baby-sitting. A group of boys and girls starting making fun of Cherry and threw rocks and sticks and him, documents allege.

Protecting kids: At some point, Cherry became defensive of the children he was baby-sitting, police said.

He told the youths if they struck the girls he was baby-sitting with a stick, "I'll break it off in your ass," according to charging documents.

The group of youths left, but at least two of them returned with Durham, according to police, then told Durham that Cherry had hit them, documents state.

Kwamiere Durham

Cherry started backing away, but Durham swung at him, punching him in the face, according to documents.

Cherry fell onto the macadam and struck his head, after which Durham and the group of youths fled the area, documents state.

Police said someone used a cellphone to record video of the confrontation just before the assault.

Investigation: Police were able to track down the video, which showed the youths harassing Cherry, police said. The alleged assault was not part of the video.

Detectives tracked Durham through his Facebook profile of "KD Gusto," documents state, then arrest him at his home.

Police: Arrest made in fatal York City park assault

Charging documents state that detectives knew they had their man when Durham said to them, "I didn't hit him that hard."

He said he was at his aunt's house when two of his cousins told them a man had hit them at the park, documents state.

Followed cousins to park: Durham went to Girard Park with his cousins and walked up to Cherry, police said.

Durham asked Cherry why he supposedly hit Durham's cousins, then punched him in the head, documents allege.

One dead, two wounded in York City park shooting

Durham, who said he knew Cherry from "around the streets," admitted to not helping Cherry when he fell, police said.

Cherry was pronounced dead at York Hospital on Tuesday morning. His autopsy was scheduled for Thursday morning at Allentown's Lehigh Valley Hospital, according to the York County Coroner's Office.

Durham's preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. May 2 at District Judge Linda Williams' office.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.