A South Carolina gas station owner has been charged with murder after reportedly shooting a teen in the back.
On Monday (May 29), the Richland County Sheriff’s Department took Rick Chow into custody, Newsday reported. His arrest is in connection with the death of 14-year-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton. Afterward, the department’s Leon Lott spoke about the incident and Chow’s arrest during a news conference. He revealed on Sunday (May 28), Chow suspected the teen shoplifted bottles of water from his store in Columbia. Police later confirmed the teen did not take anything.
Following a verbal confrontation, Chow’s son reportedly chased after Carmack-Belton as he fled the Xpress Mart Shell station. Armed with a legally owned pistol, Chow joined his son in the pursuit. After the chase led to nearby apartments, the teen fell. Chow allegedly fired his gun when he got back up, striking Carmack-Belton in the back.
Rick Chow, owner of a Shell gas station in Columbia, SC, MURDERED Cyrus Carmack-Belton, a 14 yr old Black boy, over a bottle of water.
Asian Americans have a history of anti-Blackness, exploiting Black neighborhoods, policing Black bodies, and appropriating Black culture. pic.twitter.com/hcrnl8NY0M
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) May 30, 2023
Lott added Chow’s son saw the teen with a gun. He confirmed investigators found a weapon near the 14-year-old’s body. “Even if he had shoplifted four bottles of water, which he had taken out of the cooler and then put back — even if he had done that, that’s not something you should shoot anybody over, much less a 14-year-old,” Lott said. “You just don’t do that.”
Lott mentioned previous shoplifting incidents and assaults involving Chow and his loved ones have occurred at the store. However, none have ever reached a level in which he faced charges until the Sunday shooting. Around 8 p.m., authorities responded to the scene. First responders took the 14-year-old to a local hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead. At the news press, coroner Naida Rutherford said Carmack-Belton’s death resulted from a single gunshot wound to the right lower back.
“It seems to be consistent with someone who was running away from the assailants, and so we are confident that this was done in a manner that we will now classify as a homicide. This was not an accidental shooting by any means,” Rutherford said. “This was a very intentional shooting. And unfortunately, Cyrus Carmack-Belton lost his life.”
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