A 14-year-old boy was fatally shot after being suspected of shoplifting at a gas station convenience store in South Carolina over the weekend.
The incident occurred at the Xpress Mart Shell station on Parklane Road in Columbia at around 8 p.m. on Sunday. The gas station’s owner, 58-year-old Rick Chow, is now facing murder charges.
Chow believed that the teenager — identified as Cyrus Carmack-Belton — was stealing water bottles from his store.
He allegedly chased the boy out of the store and shot him further down the road.
Police reviewed surveillance footage and determined that the alleged shoplifting did not occur, according to WIS TV. They said a verbal confrontation ensued inside the store but did not escalate to anything physical.
Chow’s son reportedly told his father that Carmack-Belton was armed.
They both chased him out of the store before Chow allegedly shot him in the right lower back.
A gun was recovered near Carmack-Belton’s body. However, there is purportedly no evidence that he threatened Chow with it.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott described the incident as “senseless” in a press conference Monday.
“Even if he had shoplifted four bottles of water, which is what he initially took out of the cooler and then he put them back, even if he’d done that, that’s not something you shoot anybody over, much less a 14-year-old, but you just don’t do that,” he said.
Lott said there had been prior shoplifting incidents at the store, resulting in confrontations between Chow and other customers. Some reportedly described the store owner as “rude” and “nasty” to customers.
Looters hijacked a peaceful protest held at the station on Monday night.
Lott said they will be arrested.
“We had one tragedy the other night when the 14-year-old was shot. Why in the world did we have to continue to have what we had last night with people just going out and stealing and trying to destroy? That’s not what this is about,” Lott said, as per CBS News. “That’s not what the family of that 14-year-old wants.”
Chow, who is being held at the Richland County Jail, made his initial court appearance on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. A bond hearing is expected later.
Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.
Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.
We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.