Store Owner Arr*sted for M*rdering Teenager Suspected of Stealing Water

A South Carolina convenience store owner has been charged with m*rder after shooting and k!lling a 14-year-old kid he had mistakenly identified as a shoplifter. The incident, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Office, took place at about 8 p.m. on Sunday at a Shell petrol station on Parklane Road in Columbia.

Cyrus Carmack-Belton was shot and k!lled by Shell petrol station owner Rick Chow in the 200 block of Springtree Drive. At a Memorial Day press conference, Sheriff Leon Lott of Richland County said, “It’s senseless, it doesn’t make sense.” You have a grieving family; we have a grieving community over the shooting de@th of a 14-year-old boy.

The store’s proprietor reported that he had reason to believe Carmack-Belton was involved in an act of shoplifting while he was present. As part of their inquiry, the department looked at CCTV footage.

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“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.

Lott claims there was an argument inside the shop at one time, but there was no sign that it escalated into violence. Carmack-Belton was being pursued down the street by 58-year-old Chow and his son. The young man got up after falling and continued running.

The younger Chow informed his dad that Carmack-Belton had weapons. The department claims there is no indication that Carmack-Belton pointed the gun at or threatened Chow, despite the fact that deputies found a gun they believe belonged to the victim near his body.

Based on what Lott has said, Carmack-Belton was fleeing when he was shot. Coroner Naida Rutherford of Richland County said she found one bullet hole in the teen’s right lower back. On Sunday night, local resident Linda Suber came saw Carmack-Belton unresponsive on the ground.

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“It’s just sad, it’s sad,” she said. “If y’all would have seen that baby laying right there, that’s all I can say.” In 2006, Broad River Road was the scene of the murder of Tavaris Bell, Suber’s son. “Just to see him laying right there, I didn’t get to see my son laying where he got killed, but I saw him in the hospital, it just brought back memories,” Suber said.

A witness who dialed 911 to report a gunshot has spoken out about her desire for retribution. To be able to speak openly about the shooting and her experiences at the petrol station, she asked to remain anonymous. “Do you even want to go in the store now? Because anything can happen now these days, and everybody’s getting trigger-happy,” she said.

“I just really hope that he gets justice for it because that young man didn’t have to die like that. But for me to witness that yesterday, I’m in fear for my own brother, and for any of the kids that are in my neighborhood because these kids… they come outside all the time. They come to this store all the time. Now it’s like now you have to watch your kids.”

Lott said there have been previous problems and confrontations between customers and the store’s owners, but nothing warranting criminal charges against Chow. Chow has been called “nasty” and “rude” by several consumers, according to reviews. On Monday, members of anti-gun violence groups from the neighborhood converged on the gas station.

The shop was closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day, as shown by the sign outside. Excuse the disruption, please. A protester had affixed a cardboard sign reading “Water or Life?” on the door. What’s the Bigger Deal?

Shortly after 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, Coroner Rutherford updated the throng, and the announcement of Chow’s charge was met with enthusiastic applause. On Monday, WIS interviewed one of Carmack-Belton’s siblings. His mother, he claimed, is particularly distraught.

According to Carmack-Belton’s brother, who spoke with WIS, “he was a good kid, very smart, and he did not deserve what happened to him.”

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