South Carolina Gas Station Owner Accused of Murdering Black Teen

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said there was no evidence the boy ever pointed the weapon at Chow or his son.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina gas station owner accused of chasing a 14-year-old boy from his store and fatally shooting him in the back will stay behind bars for now after his first court appearance Tuesday on a murder charge in the death.

Rick Chow thought the boy had shoplifted four bottles of water Sunday night from his Xpress Mart Shell station in Columbia, authorities said. But Cyrus Carmack-Belton put the bottles back in the cooler and was off the store’s property and running away when he was killed, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said.

Rick Chow has been charged, Monday, May 29, 2023, with murder in the death of a 14-year-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton.

A gun was found near the teen’s body and Chow’s son, who also was involved in the chase, told his father that Carmack-Belton was armed after the youth fell as he ran, according to the sheriff. But Lott said there was no evidence the boy ever pointed the weapon at Chow or his son.

The Xpress Mart convenience store is seen on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, in Columbia, South Carolina. Richland County deputies said the store owner chased a 14-year-old he thought shoplifted, but didn’t steal anything and fatally shot the teen in the back.

Chow, who had a concealed weapons permit, was charged after an autopsy showed the middle school student was shot in the back and deputies spoke to witnesses and reviewed surveillance and other video, Lott said.

Chow was told his bond could not be set until he goes before a circuit court judge at a later date.