20-year-old Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, a young, African-American man, has been shot and killed.
At around 1 a.m. on Sunday in North Raleigh, N.C., 39-year-old Chad Copley called 911 while on “neighborhood watch,” after he saw a group of African-American men, whom he referred to as “hoodlums,” outside of his home.
“You need to send PD as quickly as possible,” Copley told the 911 dispatcher, according to News Observer. “I’m on neighborhood watch. I’m gonna have the neighbors with me. There’s hoodlums out here racing up and down the street. It’s 1 o’clock in the morning, um, there’s some vandalism.”
The young men were attending a party down two doors down from Copley’s home. According to Thomas’ friend, David Walker, neither he nor Thomas were invited, so they were waiting outside of the home, waiting for permission to enter the party.
According to Walker, Thomas then thought he saw police lights, so he took off running due to having “a little weed on him,” but he eventually came back.
Copley ended up firing a “warning shot” to get Thomas and Walker away from his house.
“We have a lot of people outside our house, yelling and shouting profanities,” Copley told the dispatcher. “I yelled at them, ‘Please leave the premises.’ They were showing a firearm, so I fired a warning shot and, uh, we got somebody that got hit.”
“Someone was shot?” the dispatcher asked.
“Well, I don’t know if they were shot or not, ma’am,” he responded. “I fired my warning shot like I’m supposed to by law. They do have firearms, and I’m trying to protect myself and my family.”
After the dispatcher tried to get more information as to who was outside of Copley’s home, he confirmed they were “black males.”
“Ma’am, I don’t know who they are,” Copley explained. “There’s frigging black males outside my frigging house with firearms. Please send PD.”
Copley then, suddenly, hung up.
Copley was arrested on charges of first-degree murder later that day. Police say he shot Thomas from inside his garage.
Thomas’ mother, Simone Butler-Thomas, was distraught over the news.
“This is my baby,” she cried. “He looks just like me.”
In court, Copley was told that if found guilty, he could face the death penalty.
Thomas’ death is one that could have been completely avoided. There was no need for Copley to fire any shots at him. If he was truly so worried about the men outside of his home, couldn’t he have simply gone back inside and waited for police to arrive? This killing is one that, yet again, seems to be fueled completely by racism. If Copley does not receive a justified sentence for this murder, it is sure to create chaos and protests throughout the country.