Funeral details have been released for Cyrus Carmack-Belton, the 14-year-old Black boy murdered by the owner of a gas station in Columbia.
According to reports, the viewing for Carmack-Belton will be held on June 2 at Leevy’s Funeral Home in Columbia from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. After the viewing a prayer vigil will take place in the parking lot of Palmer Counseling and Consulting, The vigil is intended to bring the community together in support of the Carmack-Belton family.
The funeral will then take place at noon on June 3 at Second Nazareth Baptist Church in Columbia.
Cyrus Carmack-Belton was killed May 28 by Rich Chow, the owner of the Shell gas station convenience store on Parklane Road in Columbia. Chow shot and killed Carmack-Belton after accusing him of shoplifting. According to police, Chow, 58, chased the boy from the store before shooting him in the back as he ran away. Chow’s son, who also chased after the boy before he was shot said Carmack-Belton was armed and deputies did recover a gun near his body, but authorities said that is no evidence to suggest Carmack-Belton pointed it at or threatened Rich Chow.
RCSD said that they have reviewed surveillance footage from the incident and found no evidence that the boy was shoplifting. His death was also ruled a homicide.
Naida Rutherford, the coroner in the case took to Twitter to dispel social media rumors that the boy was stealing when he was shot.
“I want to be very clear because I’ve seen lots of things on social media, said Rutherford. “Yes he was shot in the back, yes he was running away, no he did not shoplift anything from that store, I want to be very clear about that. The video footage that we have seen shows him picking some items up, not stealing them. Then he politely and quickly put the items back where he found them.”
Chow, who is Asian, was arrested and charged with murder.
“It’s senseless, it doesn’t make sense,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said during a press conference Monday. “You have a family that’s grieving. We have a community that’s grieving over a 14-year-old who was shot.”
Cyrus Carmack-Belton’s brother told WIS that the family is completely devastated. “[He] was a good kid, very smart, and he did not deserve what happened to him, he said.
Carmack-Belton’s death led to protests outside the gas station where he was killed. Community leaders have also called for the gas station to be shut down.
According to police, Chow has had a history of confrontations with customers. Richland County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Veronica Hill told USA Today that the department has received hundreds of calls for service at the gas station over the past five years. Hill also told the publication that Chow was involved in two prior shootings, but police deemed them to be in self-defense. In 2018, Chow fired at a shoplifter and stuck him in the leg. In 2015, Chow fired multiple shots at a vehicle of an alleged shoplifter, but no one was injured.
“Mr. Chow’s conduct in the above incidents did not meet the requirements under South Carolina law to support criminal charges,” police told USA Today.
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