South Carolina Store Owner Faces Murder Charges
The South Carolina store owner, Rick Chow, 58, believed that Cyrus Carmack-Belton had taken four bottles of water from his Xpress Mart Shell station, leading to a fatal confrontation.
According to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, the South Carolina store owner mistakenly confronted the teenager, who then fled the store. Chow’s son pursued Carmack-Belton, and his armed father joined the chase.
In a press conference, Sheriff Lott declared that the South Carolina store owner shot the young man in the back, resulting in his death. The store owner now faces murder charges.
During the investigation, the coroner confirmed that there was no evidence of a fight between the South Carolina store owner and Carmack-Belton inside the store before the teenager’s escape.
The autopsy revealed that the fatal shot struck the right lower back, causing severe damage to the victim’s heart and resulting in hemorrhaging. The evidence gathered, including witness testimonies and surveillance footage, supported the decision to charge the South Carolina store owner.
Richland County Coroner Nadia Rutherford emphasized that this was no accidental shooting but a deliberate act. The coroner’s office determined that the gunshot was consistent with someone fleeing from the assailant, contradicting initial claims that the teenager posed an immediate threat to the father and son.
While a gun was found near Carmack-Belton’s body, there was no indication that he had brandished it toward the South Carolina store owner or his son.
It is important to note that there was no evidence whatsoever that Carmack-Belton had taken any items from the store.
South Carolina Store Owner’s History of Shoplifting Incidents
Sheriff Lott revealed a history of shoplifting incidents at the Xpress Mart Shell station, with Chow previously involved in confrontations with customers. However, he had never faced any charges.
Sheriff Lott expressed deep concern over the community’s reaction, particularly the spread of false rumors. Incorrect reports suggested that the teenager was kneeling, lying on the ground, or had his hands up before being shot. These rumors have contributed to the outrage surrounding the incident.
Unfortunately, a peaceful protest held at the gas station was hijacked by looters, prompting Sheriff Lott to condemn the unnecessary violence and destruction. He made it clear that the responsible individuals would be apprehended and that deputies had been assigned to guard the store.
The South Carolina store owner was taken into custody and booked at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
During his court appearance, the magistrate stated that under South Carolina law, he could not grant bail for the South Carolina store owner. A future bond hearing before a circuit court judge will be scheduled.
Sheriff Lott mentioned that the South Carolina store owner possessed the firearm legally and likely had a concealed weapons permit.