A man claiming to be part of the ‘neighborhood watch’ shot and killed an unarmed black man in Raleigh, North Carolina when police failed to show up quickly enough for his liking.
39-year-old Chad Copley called emergency dispatchers around one a.m. Sunday morning, stating that there were “a bunch of hoodlums out here racing” and that he was “going outside to secure [his] neighborhood.”
Copley stated to dispatchers that he was “Going to have the neighborhood meet these hoodlums out here racing up and down the street. It’s 1 in the morning. There’s some devil in them. They have firearms and we’re going to secure our neighborhood. If I was you, I would send PD out here as quickly as possible.”
He also claimed that there were “a lot of people outside…yelling and shouting profanities” and that they “were showing a firearm.” While on the phone with the dispatcher Copley fired what he called a “warning shot.”
The ‘warning shot” struck down unarmed Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, 20 years old, who was bleeding out on the ground when authorities arrived.
Copley said that he “fire my warning shot like I’m supposed to by law. They do have firearms, and I’m trying to protect myself and my family.”
However, Thomas’ friend that was with him at the scene, David Walker, disputes nearly every detail of Copley’s version of events. According to Walker, he and Thomas were leaving a house party when they thought they spotted police officers. Thomas was in possession of marijuana so he tried to run. Walked was yelling at him to stop running when a gunshot went off. Copley apparently fired the shot from his garage.
Walker, who was also unarmed, says that other than that the neighborhood was silent with “no fighting and no arguing and no one waving guns.”
Copley has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder and is currently being held in Wake County jail without bond. According to the neighborhood’s Homeowners Association there is no neighborhood watch group like the one Copley claimed to belong to.