A South Carolina gas station owner has been charged with murder for shooting a 14-year-old armed teenage boy in the back while chasing him down the street because he thought he’d stolen bottled water. 

Rick Chow, 58, is the owner of a Shell gas station in Columbia, South Carolina.

On Sunday night at 8pm, Cyrus Carmack-Belton, a 14-year-old teenager, entered his store while visiting family in town.

Rick Chow, 58, is the owner of the gas station in Columbia, South Carolina. On Sunday night at 8pm, Cyrus Carmack-Belton, a 14-year-old teenager, entered his store. Chow and his son suspected Cyrus of stealing bottled water from the store

Rick Chow, 58, is the owner of the gas station in Columbia, South Carolina. On Sunday night at 8pm, Cyrus Carmack-Belton, a 14-year-old teenager, entered his store. Chow and his son suspected Cyrus of stealing bottled water from the store

The Shell gas station in Columbia where the incident took place on Sunday night. It has now been vandalized

The Shell gas station in Columbia where the incident took place on Sunday night. It has now been vandalized  

Chow and his adult son – who police say are regularly besieged by shoplifters – suspected Cyrus of trying to steal bottled water. Police say that surveillance footage proves he did not steal, but the footage is yet to be released. 

When Chow and his son confronted Cyrus, he ran out onto the street. 

Chow’s son gave chase, running after him into the street. It was then that he realized the 14-year-old was armed, and shouted to his father that he had a gun. 

Chow, who owns a pistol, shot Cyrus once in the back and the teenager died as a result. 

Now, the store owner has been charged with murder. 

Protesters descended on the store to spray it with graffiti and leave trash in the parking lot

Protesters descended on the store to spray it with graffiti and leave trash in the parking lot 

The gas station was trashed on Monday night as the community learned of Cyrus' death

The gas station was trashed on Monday night as the community learned of Cyrus’ death 

Protesters trashed inside the store, knocking over displays and pouring waters on the ground

Protesters trashed inside the store, knocking over displays and pouring waters on the ground

At a press conference yesterday, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott condemned the him. 

‘You don’t shoot somebody in the back if he’s not a threat to you. It’s the same standard that we do, that cops have to live by.

‘You have to be defending someone’s life or your life. There has to be immediate danger to you. 

‘Someone who is running away, has no indication the he is pointing a gun at anyone while he’s running away, he was shot in the back.

‘Even if he had shoplifted four bottles of water, it’s not something you shoot anyone over much less a 14-year-old.’ 

Sheriff Naida Rutherford added: ‘There’s no indication that this young man was fighting with the store owner. 

‘He has no wound on his hand, scratches, no other injury to his body.’ 

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and Coroner Naida Rutherford said Chow deserved to be charged with murder - even though the teenager was armed - because Cyrus hadn't pointed his gun at the father or son

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and Coroner Naida Rutherford said Chow deserved to be charged with murder – even though the teenager was armed – because Cyrus hadn’t pointed his gun at the father or son 

Protests: Local residents descended on the gas station to protest and call for murder charges

Protests: Local residents descended on the gas station to protest and call for murder charges 

She also took to social media to call for ‘#justiceforcyrus’, and wept.

‘I have spoken with his parents. I cannot imagine what they feel right now. People ask me all the time how do you do this.

‘Let me tell y’all. I have a son,. That age. He could be my son. He could be any of our kids,’ she said through tears an Instagram video. 

Police are yet to release a photograph of Cyrus, explain why he had a gun or release surveillance footage of the incident. 

They will not reveal whether or not he has a juvenile record. Yesterday, protesters descended on the gas station. 

They spray painted the walls of the store and poured bottes of water out in the parking lot. 

Chow has a history of traffic violations and infractions but he does not have a violent criminal record. 

Police have been called to the gas station frequently in the past to deal with shoplifters and violence.  

DailyMail

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