A convenience store owner in South Carolina has been charged with murder after shooting and killing a 14-year-old boy he wrongly accused of shoplifting. This tragic event has sparked anger and protests in the community.
A convenience store owner in South Carolina has been charged with murder for the unjust shooting of a 14-year-old boy. The owner, Rick Chow, falsely accused Cyrus Carmack-Belton of stealing water bottles and shot him in the back as he fled, resulting in the boy’s death.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Office swiftly took action and charged Chow, 58, with murder the next day. It was determined that Cyrus had not actually shoplifted, making the shooting completely unjustified. Sheriff Leon Lott expressed his disappointment during a news conference, emphasizing that even if the accusations were true, the use of deadly force was unwarranted, especially against a young teenager.
The tragic incident occurred around 8 p.m. when Chow and his son pursued Cyrus to a nearby apartment complex. While Cyrus fell at one point, he managed to get back up. Chow’s son claimed to have seen Cyrus with a gun, which prompted his father to shoot the boy in the back without any evidence of a direct threat. The circumstances surrounding this incident are deeply troubling.
The community in Columbia reacted with outrage upon learning about the shooting. Protesters gathered at Chow’s store to express their anger. Unfortunately, the situation escalated later that night with the store being vandalized and looted. Sheriff Lott pleaded with the protesters to remain peaceful and condemned the violent acts. Photos of the store showed graffiti and crime scene tape with messages honoring Cyrus, who was only 14 years old.
Cyrus’s father, Troy Belton, briefly shared his grief, describing his son as someone who would have been loved by anyone who knew him. This heartbreaking incident adds to a disturbing pattern of similar attacks where people were shot due to misunderstandings or minor mistakes, highlighting a concerning level of violence in different parts of the country.
During a news conference, Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford confirmed that there were no signs of a physical altercation between Cyrus and the store owner prior to the shooting. Cyrus had no injuries on his hands or scratches, except for an abrasion from the fall and the fatal gunshot wound on his lower back.
It was revealed that Mr. Chow legally owned the pistol used in the shooting and had experienced previous shoplifting incidents. However, Sheriff Lott stressed that none of this justified the actions taken on that Sunday night.
State Representative Todd Rutherford, who is representing Cyrus’s family, expressed his disbelief and sadness over the incident. He described Cyrus as a young boy known for his constant smile and emphasized that he had done nothing wrong. Rutherford speculated that Cyrus may have felt the need to carry a gun for self-protection but chose not to use it when confronted.
In a powerful Facebook post, Rutherford addressed the broader issue of racial profiling and violence faced by the Black community, stating that Cyrus’s death was not an accident but a tragically familiar experience of unjust targeting and shooting.
The shooting of Cyrus Carmack-Belton serves as a reminder of the importance of justice, accountability, and an end to racial discrimination. This tragedy has deeply affected the community, calling for a united effort to address the systemic issues that continue to harm our society.