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Justice For Cyrus: Gas Station Owner Charged In The Fatal Shooting Of A 14 Year Old Teen He Wrongfully Accused Of Shoplifting Water!

Cousins! A young teenager was murdered over Memorial weekend at the hands of a South Carolina gas station owner following suspicion that he had been shoplifting!

The tragic incident occurred on Sunday, May 28th around 8PM at the Xpress Mart Shell station on Parklane Road in Columbia. Asian-American store owner Rick Chow alongside his son suspected that 14 year old Cyrus-Carmack Belton had been stealing bottles of water out of his store.

According to Yahoo news, the 58 year old and his son chased Cyrus out of the store, down the road and fatally shot him from behind in his lower back area with a pistol.

Police officials have stated after reviewing surveillance footage from the store that Cyrus didn’t steal anything. The video shows there was a verbal confrontation between the two within the store of some sort but didn’t escalate to anything physical. “He did not shoplift anything. We have no evidence that he stole anything whatsoever,” stated Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said during a news conference on Monday.

He adds, “At some point, the son said … that the victim had a gun and we did recover a gun that was close to his body. At that point, the father shot the young man in the back.”

Rick has since been arrested and charged with murder, he was denied bail on Tuesday May 30th.

“Even if he [Cyrus] had shoplifted 4 bottles of water, which is what he initially took out of the cooler and then put them back, even if he had done that, that’s not something you shoot anybody over,” declared Sheriff Lott.

Richland County Coroner Nadia Rutherford confirms that Cyrus cause of death has been ruled a homicide. “This incident is related to a fatal gunshot wound that he sustained that pierced his heart,” Nadia told Yahoo News.

She added, “I would like the store owner to have his day in court so that we can hear everything that happened. And I want this family to get justice if there was truly something egregious done against.”

15 year old Latasha Harlins ( LEFT ) Ja Du, 51 ( RIGHT )

Cyrus’ wrongful death has sparked outrage within the Black community and across social media. “What happened to him wasn’t an accident: It’s something that the Black community has experienced for generations — being racially profiled, then shot down in the street like a dog,” said the family’s lawyer Todd Rutherford on Wednesday in a forwarded statement.

This tragic instance also reminds folks of the 1991 murder of a young Black teenage girl named Latasha Harlins at the hands of an Asian store owner upon claims of stealing an orange juice. She was only 15 years old when a convience store owner identified as Ja Du, accused her of stealing.

Professor of history at the University of Oxford and author of “The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender, and the Origins of the LA Riots,” Brenda Stevenson has come forward and pointed out that there are alarming similarities between Cyrus and Latasha’s death.

Not only we’re both teens shot from behind upon false claims of shoplifting, but both ship-owners were Asian and displayed aggressive behavior towards two young Black children.

“You have African American youth — he’s [Cyrus] 14 years old, Latasha was only 15 years old. You have a person who’s being accused wrongfully of shopkeeping, you have Asian American shopkeeper, you have the presumption of guilt from the shopkeeper of one of his customers and you have the aggressive behavior of the shopkeeper towards this African American teenager,” said Brenda. “While Latasha turned to walk away, Mrs. Du shot her in the back of the head, this young man fled the store, he was running away and he was actually chased and shot in his back.”

Brenda expressed that says she is not surprised by the incident because African American youths are not considered innocent within society as oppose to other ethnicities. “Whether they’re males or females, they are almost always thought of as being as dangerous as being criminal, and are treated that way, in our society.”

Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., has released a statement noting that Cyrus murder should’ve never taken place. “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.”

Both experts believe that justice may not be served for Cyrus as further similarities have shown ,”The police in the Harlins case, they immediately arrested Soon Ja Du and she was charged with first-degree murder special circumstances, it was a death penalty case,” Brenda added that the judge in the case failed to give Du any jail time.

Rick is currently being held at the Richland County Jail. He has been described by others as being rude, nasty and confrontational to customers.

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