Much of the community was in shock after a gas station owner allegedly shot and killed a Columbia teenager on Sunday.
Cyrus Carmack-Belton, 14, was shot and killed near the Shell gas station at 7441 Parklane Road where he had a fight with owner Rick Chow, who accused him of shoplifting, according to Richland County Sheriff’s Department. Chow, 58, has been charged with murder.
Here are five things to know about the current case.
1. Carmack-Belton was shot in the back
Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford said Carmack-Belton died of a single gunshot wound and was shot in the back, specifically in the lower right back. Rutherford said the gunshot wound caused bleeding, as well as significant damage to the teenager’s heart.
She added that the teenager’s injuries were consistent with someone running from his attackers.
“It was by no means an accidental shooting,” Rutherford said at a Monday news conference. “It was a very intentional shooting and unfortunately Cyrus Carmack-Belton lost his life.”
2. Rick Chow is still in jail
Chow was booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center Monday afternoon. Chow appeared before a magistrate inside the center on Tuesday. Bail will be set at a later date by a circuit court judge.
Chow was represented at the hearing by Columbia attorney James Snell. Snell and Chow declined to speak at the hearing.
3. No evidence of shoplifting
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Carmack-Belton entered the store and the owners suspected him of shoplifting. However, the investigation revealed no evidence of shoplifting.
“We have no evidence that he stole anything,” Lott said at Monday’s press conference.
The sheriff added that surveillance footage shows the teenager at one point removed four water bottles from a cooler, but put them back.
4. Carmack-Belton attended Summit Parkway Middle School
Carmack-Belton was a student at Summit Parkway Middle and had just graduated eighth grade in a ceremony last week.
“The Richland 2 family is devastated to learn of the tragic passing of one of our Summit Parkway Middle School students,” the district said in a statement. “Our deepest condolences go out to the Carmack-Belton family at this time of bereavement.”
5. Protests end in vandalism at a gas station
A peaceful crowd gathered at the Shell gas station on Monday afternoon. However, a crowd at the station was dispersed later that night after protests turned destructive, the sheriff’s department said. Deputies at the scene reported finding smashed windows and a large crowd of people inside the business stealing goods.
Lott vowed to arrest the vandals, noting Tuesday that his department had security footage of the incident. He added that deputies had been assigned to guard the store.