A South Carolina convenience store owner who fatally shot a 14-year-old child he thought was shoplifting is now being charged with murder.
Around 8 o’clock on Sunday night, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, a gunshot took place at a Shell petrol station on Parklane Road in Columbia.
The owner of the Shell gas station, Rick Chow, shot Cyrus Carmack-Belton just down the street in the 200 block of Springtree Drive after chasing him out of his store.
“It’s senseless, it doesn’t make sense,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said in a Memorial Day press conference. “You have a family that’s grieving, we have a community that’s grieving over a 14-year-old who was shot.”
According to the department, Carmack-Belton did not steal anything from the store, but the owner informed officers he thought it was possible.
As part of this inquiry, the department examined the security footage.
“Regardless, 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,” Sheriff Lott said.
According to Lott, there was a verbal altercation inside the business at one time, but there was no sign that it escalated to physical contact.
Carmack-Belton was pursued by Chow, 58, and his son down the street. The adolescent fell, but stood up and fled. Carmack-Belton was armed, according to information provided by Chow’s son to his father.
There is no proof that Carmack-Belton threatened or pointed a pistol at Chow, according to the police department, despite the fact that deputies found a gun thought to belong to the victim close to his body.
According to Lott, Carmack-Belton was shot while he was fleeing.