Congressman James Clyburn issues statement after 14-year-old was killed outside of convenience store

The incident happened around 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 28 after Chow suspected Carmack-Belton of shoplifting.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 5:38 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn released a statement after 14-year-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton was killed on the street outside of the Shell gas station on 7441 Parklane Road.

“I’m horrified and deeply saddened by the senseless murder of 14-year-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton in Columbia this weekend. His family and loved ones should be celebrating his recent eighth-grade graduation from Summit Parkway Middle School. Instead, they are mourning this unimaginable loss. My prayers are with them and the entire community during this devastating time.

“This tragedy should have never happened. 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. I pray justice is swift.”

According to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Rick Chow, who owns the Shell gas station on Parklane Road, chased Cyrus Carmack-Belton from his store, and shot him in the back.

The incident happened around 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 28 after Chow suspected Carmack-Belton of shoplifting.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said in a press conference on Monday that there is “no evidence” Carmack-Belton stole anything.

“You don’t shoot somebody in the back who’s not a threat to you,” Lott said. “That’s the same standard that we do, the same standard that cops have to live by. You have to be defending someone’s life or your life, and there has to be an immediate danger to you at that point.”

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