White Neighborhood Watchman Fatally Shoots Unarmed Black Teen
Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP

A young man in Raleigh, North Carolina was shot dead by a self-described neighborhood watchman.

Twenty-year old Kouren-Rodney Thomas was on his way to a house party with friends Sunday evening when a neighbor spotted the boys and pegged them as “hoodlums.”

Chad Copley, 39, called police reporting “a bunch of hoodlums” racing on his block. Instead of waiting for police to respond, Copley decidedly took matters into his own hands.

In the 911 audio released by the Raleigh Police Department, Copley tells the operator, “I am locked and loaded. I’m going outside to secure my neighborhood.”

He tells the operator, “It’s 1 in the morning. There’s some devil in them. They have firearms and we’re going to secure our neighborhood.”

Shortly after, Copley lets off a round from a shotgun while standing inside of his garage, striking Thomas in the arm and chest.

Kouren-Rodney Thomas was pronounced dead at WakeMed hospital that evening, WTVD reports.

After the shooting, Copley calls 911 again, but seemed unsure if his bullet had in fact hit someone.

“Well, I don’t know if they were shot or not, Ma’am,” he told the dispatcher. “I fired my warning shot like I’m supposed to by law. They do have firearms, and I’m trying to protect myself and my family.”

Police did not recover any firearms from the scene.

Copley was arraigned and charged with murder.

On the family’s GoFundMe page for Thomas, a smiling photo of Kouren-Rodney holding a certificate shines at the top of the page, which has garnered more than $2,000 in donations for funeral services.

His mother, Munyir Simone Butler Thomas told New York Daily News she moved her family from the Harlem neighborhood of New York to North Carolina because she felt the city had become too dangerous for her children.

“I’m not an activist or anything. I don’t watch the news because I’m tired of hearing about these boys getting killed,” she said.

“I hope at the end of all of this he didn’t die in vain. If my baby’s passing can change laws to stop innocent people being killed, then let it be so. I can’t bring him back.”


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