COLUMBIA, S.C. (TCD) -- A 58-year-old convenience store owner was arrested over the weekend for fatally shooting a 14-year-old he accused of stealing water.
According to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, on Sunday, May 28, 14-year-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton went to a convenience store on Parklane Road at around 8 p.m. The store’s owner, Rich Chow, allegedly suspected Carmack-Belton of shoplifting some water bottles. Lott said Carmack-Belton picked up four water bottles but then put them back in the cooler.
Chow and the teen reportedly got into a verbal altercation in the store, and Carmack-Belton fled.
Chow’s son allegedly chased after Carmack-Belton, and Chow followed his son while armed with a pistol. At one point, Carmack-Belton fell and got back up. Chow’s son reportedly yelled to his father that Carmack-Belton had a gun, and Chow fired his pistol.
Lott confirmed officials recovered a firearm near the teen’s body. He said Carmack-Belton was not kneeling or on the ground with his hands up when he was shot, contradicting a theory that reportedly made its way around social media following the shooting.
There have been previous incidents and confrontations occurring at the same convenience store, according to Lott.
Coroner Naida Rutherford spoke at a press conference alongside Lott and shared Carmack-Belton suffered a fatal gunshot wound to his right lower back, which caused "significant damage to his heart and hemorrhaging."
According to Rutherford, "There were no other injuries that could have contributed to his cause of death."
She added there was no indication that Carmack-Belton was shot inside the convenience store.
Rutherford said, "The shot is consistent with someone running away from the assailant. We are confident that this was done in a manner of a homicide. This was not accidental. This was a very intentional shooting."