Gas Station Owner Charged In Fatal Shooting Of 14-Year-Old Black Teen

Photo: Richland County Sheriff's Department

A South Carolina gas station owner has been charged in the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old Black teenager who was wrongly accused of shoplifting, according to police.

Cyrus Carmack-Belton, 14, was shot and killed on Sunday (May 28) night after he was accused of stealing bottles of water from a Shell gas station in Columbia, S.C, per 11 Alive News. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott shut down the allegation, saying that the teen had only touched the water bottles and put them back in the cooler.

According to Lott, Carmack-Belton and gas station owner Rick Chow, who made the accusation, got into an argument before the teen left the store. Chow, who was armed with a pistol, and his son then began chasing after Carmack-Belton.

At some point during the chase, the son told his father that the teen also had a gun, Lott said. Moments later, the sheriff said Chow shot Carmack-Belton in the back.

The gunshot caused fatal injuries to the teen's heart, according to Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford.

Lott said investigators did recover a gun near Carmack-Belton's body, but they determined that the gun wasn't pointed at the men.

"These are the facts of the case," he said. "A tragic incident occurred and the person responsible has been arrested."

During a press conference on Monday (May 29), Lott called the shooting "senseless." Protestors gathered outside of the gas station holding signs that read "Black Lives Matter," and "Justice for Cyrus."

"You don't do what happened last night," Lott said.

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