**Gas Station Owner Murders Teen Over False Shoplifting Accusation: Community Outrage Ensues**
Enraged protestors vandalized a South Carolina gas station after the owner allegedly shot and killed a 14-year-old boy he wrongfully accused of shoplifting. The tragic incident has ignited a firestorm of controversy, as community members and politicians demand justice for the young teen.
Cyrus Carmack-Belton, 14, entered a Columbia Shell gas station recently plagued by vandalism and theft. Owner Rick Chow, 58, confronted Cyrus, believing he had taken water bottles. In an ensuing chase, Chow saw Cyrus carry a firearm, prompting him to shoot the teen in the back, leading to his death. Police later discovered that the weapon had not been brandished and no shoplifting had occurred.
Following Cyrus’ death, public officials including Coroner Naida Rutherford and U.S. Rep. James Clyburn expressed their sorrow and criticism of the incident. Rutherford sympathized with the grief many experienced upon hearing of a child’s death while Clyburn denounced the criminalization of Black men and boys that often leads to tragedy.
In response, the community held a candlelight vigil for Cyrus and vandalized the gas station’s premises. Chow has since turned himself in and faces murder charges, awaiting bond determination.
**The fatal shooting of an innocent teen has sparked demands for justice and an extensive investigation, igniting anger and bitter grief among the community members and local leaders alike.**