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S.C. Gas Station Owner Accused Of Murdering Teen Over Store Incident

A South Carolina gas station owner was charged with murdering a 14-year-old boy who he said stole from his store. The teen's killing has prompted protests and community outrage, USA Today reports. Cyrus Carmack-Belton did not steal from the Xpress Mart Shell in Columbia on Sunday , Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said, but Rick Chow and his son chased him out of the store and down the street before Chow shot him in the back as he was running away. "It's senseless. It doesn't make sense. We have a family that's grieving, we have a community that's grieving over a 14-year-old that was shot," Lott said. Chow, 58, made his first appearance in court on Tuesday.

Lott said at about 8 p.m. Sunday, Carmack-Belton, a Black middle school student, went into the convenience store and Chow suspected him of shoplifting. Lott said Carmack-Belton picked up four bottles of water from a cooler but had put them back. "The video footage that we have seen shows him picking some items up, not stealing them, and then he politely and quickly put the items back where he found them," said Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford. After a "verbal confrontation," Lott said Carmack-Belton left the store and started running. Rutherford said there was no indication of a physical fight or altercation between Carmack-B elton and the store owners. Chow, armed with a pistol, and his son chased Carmack-Belton and the boy fell down, then got back up. "At some point, the son said that (the victim) had a gun," Lott said, adding that a gun was recovered close to Carmack-Belton's body. "At that point, the father shot the young man in the back."Lott said the investigation showed Carmack-Belton did not point a gun at Chow before he was shot in the back.


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