Gas station owner charged with murder for shooting teen he suspected of shoplifting

On Sunday evening in Columbia, South Carolina, a 58-year-old convenience store owner killed 14-year-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton.

According to police, Rick Chow had chased the teenager down the street outside the store before fatally shooting him in the back. There was a gun located on the ground near the teen but there wasn’t evidence it was pointed at Chow or fired.

Surveillance footage revealed that Chow’s claims of theft by the teen had been false, leaving Sheriff Leon Lott to describe the incident as “senseless”. Lott further asserted that a four bottles of water would have never cost someone their life.

The community of Columbia was left in disbelief, both mourning the young boy whose life was taken in a moment of rage and enraged by the injustice of the situation.

Tuesday morning saw a gathering of people outside the Shell station where the events had taken place. All in attendance shared the sentiment of fear – fear of what could happen to their own children in a similar situation.

Richland County Police were quick to respond, dispersing the crowd and responding to the reports of vandalism and broken glass of the store itself.

The charges against Chow were formally announced Tuesday afternoon to the relief of some of the protestors.