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Crime & Courts

Memorial Day Shooting Shocks South Carolina

Richland County continues investigation into convenience store slaying as local leaders plead for peace …

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On Sunday, May 29, 2023 at around 8:00 p.m. EST, 14-year-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton visited the “XPress Mart” Shell gas station and convenience store located at 7441 Parklane Road in Columbia, South Carolina.

The middle school student did not make it home alive, though. He was shot in the back by the convenience store’s owner, 58-year-old Rick Chow, following a foot pursuit involving Chow and his son. Carmack-Belton had been suspected of shoplifting by Chow, however at this point there is no evidence to support that allegation.

According to Richland County sheriff Leon Lott, Carmack-Belton entered the convenience store and retrieved four water bottles – but reportedly put them back in the cooler prior to departing. Nonetheless, at some point while he was inside the store a verbal altercation ensued between Carmack-Belton and Chow.

What was said? We don’t know. But we do know the outcome of the dispute …

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Cyrus Carmack-Belton (Provided)

“Fourteen-year-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton of Columbia died from a single gunshot wound to his right lower back,” Richland County coronor Naida Rutherford stated at a press conference. “The fatal shot caused significant damage to his heart and hemorrhaging.”

Rutherford stated there was “no indication (Carmack-Belton) was shot inside the store” and that his wound was consistent with someone running from an assailant.

Carmack-Belton was allegedly chased from the store onto the 200 block of Springtree Drive by Chow and his son – which is where the fatal shot was fired. A handgun was retrieved near the victim’s body but according to authorities there is no indication that the 14-year-old shot or pointed the gun at the store owner or his son.

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Naida Rutherford (Richland County)

“This was not an accidental shooting by any means, this was a very intentional shooting,” Rutherford said.

Lott agreed with that assessment.

“You don’t shoot somebody in the back that is not a threat to you,” the sheriff said at a press conference on the incident this week. “Same standard the cops live by.”

Chow – who has a valid concealed weapons permit – has been charged with murder in Carmack-Belton’s shooting. He is currently being held at the Alvin S. Glenn detention center south of Columbia, S.C.

As with anyone accused of committing any crime, Chow is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as he may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to any of the charges that may be filed against him.

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Rick Chow (Richland County Detention Center)

Richland County school district two – whose schools Carmack-Belton attended – released a statement Sunday.

“The Richland two family is devastated to learn of the tragic death of one of our Summit Parkway Middle School student,” the statement noted. “Our students, teachers, and school-staff are grieving and our district staff will be there tomorrow to support them through it. Our deepest sympathies go out to the Carmack-Belton family in their time of loss.”

Authorities are reportedly reviewing surveillance videos from the store as their investigation into the incident continues. After the shooting, crowds gathered and vandalized Chow’s store – which had a sign up on Monday indicating it was closed for the Memorial Day holiday. Later, windows were smashed and widespread looting took place.

Lott condemned the looting and dispatched deputies to safeguard the property. He also indicated he planned to file charges against those who participated in the looting.

“What does stealing a case of beer have to do with a 14-year-old being shot?” he asked. “The taxpayers are paying for us to guard that store because a limited number of individuals who want to do something like that instead of going out there in memory of this 14-year-old boy.”

Rutherford also pleaded with the community to “please be peaceful.”

Chow’s convenience store has had numerous incidents of shoplifting in the past – and there have been confrontations between the owner and shoppers – but none have risen to this level.

Keep it tuned to FITSNews for updates on this story …

UPDATE | Mother of victim demands additional charges …



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Neon Leon May 31, 2023 at 10:25 am

Lott is developing a knack for letting his chosen people have access to the property of someone they are aggrieved with while the owner of the property is jailed and unable to defend it. His chosen then predictably vandalize and loot the property as would be expected of them. Then and only then, Leon sends his gendarmes to protect the property, in effect, closing the barn door after the horse is let out. He did this to the Ft Jackson drill sergeant who offended a questionable person in his neighborhood and now to Mr Chow. It is win/win for Leon and his chosen. He gets to punish the politically undesirable additionally beyond what the law allows, his chosen get to vent additional rage and venom as well as maybe steal a few goodies, and Leon scores additional brownie points with his chosen.

Colin Flaherty June 2, 2023 at 9:58 am

Don’t make the black kids angry!

SubZeroIQ June 2, 2023 at 2:46 pm

Sincerely, just a few questions with my deep condolences to the Carmack and Belton families:
1. How did a 14-year old get a gun and why did he take it to the convenience store?
2. Whose gun was it? Was it registered? What is the age limit, if any, for concealed carry? Do we now give teens licenses to carry guns before they are licensed to drive?
3. How will presumed-innocent Mr. Chow get a jury of his peers if lawful immigrants are not allowed to sit on juries in South Carolina?
4. Does the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center (“ASGDC”) even have protective custody, effective or not?
5. With many people on South Carolina’s death row (and I am VERY OPPOSED to the death penalty) being there for shooting-to-death convenience store clerks and/or by-stander convenience-store customers, what is being done to promote the safety of convenience stores so it doesn’t come to this?
But I have to give credit to FITS for possibly the most measured-tone and non-inflammatory post in his life. This is NOT the time, and no time ever is the time, to stir Asian-Black tensions, which all know exist on both sides.
Peace and strength to all.

Inconvenient Truth June 3, 2023 at 11:19 am

Sub, you ask some very qood questions.

1. Very good question. Nobody, especially Sheriff Lott, seems to really care. Why is that? Why was this 14 year old “angel” carrying a deadly weapon while visiting Mr Chow’s store? Predictably, he is being lionized by the black community and their panderers, of which Lott is one of the biggest. If he was carrying at this age, how long before he shot another kid who was carrying, or worse an innocent child or bystander? One report I read of the story said that Mr Chow’s son saw the weapon and announced it before Mr Chow fired. Would Lott have preferred that Mr Chow or his son took no action and were themselves shot? Well, that is an easy question to answer. Yes. Then Lott would have only have had to do one of his canned speeches about how bad gun violence is getting in Richland County and how he and his deputies want to “partner” (his favorite word which is interchangeable with “pander”) with the community on gun violence. Now Leon has to persecute a business owner as he lionizes a thug-in-training and lets the co munity vent by destroying a man’s business, while keeping that within ill defined limits. The uncomfortable truth is that Mr Chow may have saved someone’s life or prevented serious injury to a bystander like the college girl confined to a wheelchair for life when she was shot by a gangsta who missed his target in 5 Points, a few years ago.

2. More good questions. Leon doesn’t seem too anxious to come up with answers, possibly because they may tend to point to the bereaved family or members. This might rob them and the angered co munity of some of their righteous indignation. Currently, the legal age in SC to possess a handgun is 18. You cannot get a permit to carry until 21. This 14 year old was definitely in violation of more than one law, but that makes for an uncomfortable deviation from the narrative that he was an angel and destined for great things.

3. I have serious doubts that Mr Chow could ever get a fair trial in Richland County. Between pre-trial publicity, demonization by public figures like Lott or his department, and that the bereaved co munity is a majority in RC, yeah, good luck on that.

4. I think by law they have to. Whether or not Mr Chow survives in that proven death trap is another matter.

5. Well, if you are in Richland County, and you do something that sets off a volatile co munity and get put in jail, Lott will let them have their way with your property and his deputies will be nowhere around while it happens. After your stuff is damaged or stolen, he will benevolently provide your property with protection. See how that works?


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