Raleigh, NC — A man from North Carolina who claims to have been on “neighborhood watch” recently shot and killed Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, a 20-year old unarmed African American man outside of his home. The shooter, 39-year old Chad Copley, called 911 and told dispatchers that he was trying to protect his family from “hoodlums”.
He also added that he was “on the neighborhood watch” and was going to “secure [his] neighborhood” from “frigging black males with firearms.” He then went out and fired a warning shot that he says accidentally struck Thomas, who had been attending a party nearby and was reportedly involved in some type of car racing in the neighborhood. After being shot, Thomas later died at a nearby hospital.
Copley, who says he shot at Thomas because he had a firearm, has since been charged and held without bail at the Wake County Detention Center. Police said Copley used a shotgun but have not yet revealed the type of shotgun or the ammunition used.
His family, however, denies that Thomas was armed. His girlfriend, Amani Rainey, posted on Facebook: “I refuse to let anyone paint a picture of you that isn’t true. You would give the shirt of your back if it meant helping another person out! You were a smart, well mannered, caring man! … I love you more than anything and I won’t stop until we get justice for you!”
And her sister, Renee Gupton, told The Huffington Post that there was “no way” Thomas had a gun. “He is lying,” she said. “Koury doesn’t like guns ― he wouldn’t even go paintballing. He was just a wonderful person. He was a protector. He was family. And he was just at a party across the street. Sure, we’re young and we’re going to have fun sometimes, but we should be able to make it home.”
The victim’s mom, Munyir Simone, has set up a GoFundMe account at www.gofundme.com/276hhgks to help the family raise funds for the funeral. In 3 days, more than $12,000 was raised.
Meanwhile, CNN reports that Copley winked at his family when he entered the courtroom during his first hearing about the case. The judge later assigned Raymond Tarlton of the capital defenders office to defend him.