Police: Arrest made in fatal York City park assault
A 25-year-old York City man has died after being assaulted in Girard Park on Monday night, according to police, who arrested a man for the homicide Tuesday afternoon.
Oscar Cherry III, of East Boundary Avenue, was determined to be clinically dead as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to York City Police Lt. Troy Bankert.
On Tuesday afternoon, York City detectives arrested the man they say is responsible for Cherry's death.
Kwamiere Durham, 18, of 361 Pattison St. in York City, was arraigned Tuesday night at the county's central booking unit on charges of homicide and aggravated assault, then committed to York County Prison without bail, officials said.
No gunfire: Officers were called to Girard Park — which is bordered by Girard Avenue, East Maple Street and East South Street — about 7:50 p.m. Monday for a reported shooting, but there was no gunfire, according to Bankert.
Cherry had been in a verbal argument with a group of young people at the park's basketball court when Durham intervened and punched Cherry in the head at least once, Bankert said.
The victim fell to the ground, and it's believed he hit his head, although that must still be determined, according to the lieutenant. Cherry had suffered a previous medical condition involving his brain, Bankert said.
Cherry was unconscious, bleeding from the head and not breathing when police arrived, according to Bankert. Officers Justin Main and Joshua Phillips performed CPR until an ambulance crew arrived, Bankert said.
The ambulance crew then took over CPR efforts and, once inside the ambulance, was able to revive Cherry, who was rushed to York Hospital, according to Bankert.
An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday morning at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, according to the York County Coroner's Office.
'A kind person': Friends and family gathered at Girard Park Tuesday afternoon to remember Cherry. About 20 candles had been placed near the basketball court, each with handwritten notes on them.
"Heaven gained an angel," one candle read.
The candles were arranged in an "O" for Oscar, and a small statue of an angel sat in between them.
Standing outside the circle of candles was Cherry's younger sister, Korrine Mann of York City.
"He was a kind person," she said, adding that he would do anything for people.
Mann said her brother had an impact on the people in his life.
"Everyone's upset about it, everyone's devastated," she said.
Cousins surprised: Siblings Kasey and Michael Gibson, who are Cherry's cousins, said he was always smiling.
"He didn't have a bad bone in his body," Michael Gibson said.
The two said their cousin never caused trouble, which is why they were surprised about his death.
"Everybody knew what kind of person he was," Kasey Gibson said. "We don't understand why someone would do this to him."
Mann said her brother had graduated from William Penn High School. That was something he was very proud of, according to Kasey Gibson.
"He was really happy about that," she said, recalling that it was a "big accomplishment," to him.
'Peaceful' man: During Tuesday night's York City Council meeting, president Michael Helfrich said Cherry was a "peaceful young man."
Councilwoman Sandie Walker urged residents to come to the council to discuss how to curb violence in the city.
Despite Durham's arrest, city detectives still need to speak with anyone who witnessed the assault or the argument preceding it, Bankert said.
Reach police at 717-846-1234 or call 911, or anonymously text "yorktips" and your information to 847-411. Tipsters also can provide police with information through the York City Police Department's free app, which features a picture of the departmental badge.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.