Gas station owner Rick Chow made his first court appearance Tuesday after fatally shooting a Black teenager, 14-year-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton, in the back on Sunday outside of his South Carolina store.
According to law enforcement, the incident began inside the gas station of Rick Chow, who falsely accused the teen of stealing water and engaged in an argument with Carmack-Belton.
Chow was armed when he joined his son in chasing Carmack-Belton after the teen left the store. Chow’s son claimed that the teen had a gun, and Chow shot him in the back.
According to CBS News affiliate WLTX19, investigators determined the teen did not point a weapon and deputies maintain that he did not steal any water.
South Carolina U.S. Congressman James Clyburn addressed the incident Tuesday, stating, “This tragedy should have never happened. The criminalization of Black men and boys and the historic trend of painting them as aggressors have time and again led to deadly and heartbreaking circumstances. Cyrus Carmack-Belton has since been declared innocent, but his supposed crime of shoplifting a bottle of water should not have cost him his life. I pray justice is swift.”
Chow is being held at the Richland County Detention Center until there is a bond hearing.