Authorities in South Carolina said that a convenience store owner has been charged with murder after reportedly following and killing a 14-year-old kid in the back after suspecting the child of shoplifting.
According to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, the youngster, Cyrus Carmack-Belton, entered the Columbia store at 8 p.m. Sunday and was approached by the owner who accused him of shoplifting.
“He did not shoplift anything. We have no evidence that he stole anything whatsoever,” the sheriff said in a news conference Monday, adding even if he had, “that’s not something you shoot anybody over, much less a 14-year-old.”
“We’re sure that this was done in a way that qualifies as homicide at this point. By no means was this a shooting that happened by mistake, Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford declared at the press conference. “This shooting was definitely deliberate. And regrettably, Cyrus Carmack-Belton passed away.
According to the Wonder database maintained by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firearms are the greatest cause of death for children in the US, overtaking auto accidents in 2020 and being responsible for about 19% of child fatalities in 2021.
Guns are not among the top four causes of child mortality in any similar country, according to a KFF investigation.
Community people grieved and demanded justice outside the business on Monday in response to Cyrus’ death, which sparked protests.
According to a sheriff’s department incident report, the convenience shop was vandalized after the nonviolent protests, with the outside being spray-painted and the windows being broken.
The store’s owner, 58-year-old Rick Chow, was detained and charged with Cyrus’ murder on Monday.
The tweet below confirms the news:
A South Carolina convenience store owner has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Cyrus Carmack-Belton, a 14-year-old whom he falsely accused of shoplifting, chased and shot in the back on Sunday night, the authorities said. https://t.co/sQCfHOgDnn
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 31, 2023
Convenience Store Owner Denied Bai
His first court date is scheduled for June 23, according to court records, and he was refused release at a hearing on Tuesday.
The sheriff claims that after Chow confronted Cyrus, the youngster fled the business and was pursued by Chow, who was carrying a revolver, and Chow’s son.
According to a sheriff’s department incident report, Cyrus slipped out of his sneaker, fell, got back up, and kept running.
“The victim had a gun at one point, the son claimed, and we did find a gun next to the deceased’s body. The father then shot the young man in the back, according to the sheriff.
According to the incident report, Chow apparently saw what appeared to be a gun, pulled out his Glock 30S, and fired one shot.
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When deputies arrived, they saw Cyrus lying on his back receiving chest compressions from a passerby. According to the report, a gun was discovered several feet from the victim.
The coroner added at the press conference that the child’s one gunshot wound to his right lower back “seems consistent with someone who was running away from the assailants.”
According to Lott, the convenience store site has experienced a lot of stealing occurrences in the past, including altercations involving the store owners.
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