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Gas station owner charged with killing Columbia teen to remain behind bars for now

Rick Chow appeared in court for a hearing at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center Tuesday afternoon.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A gas station owner charged with killing a 14-year-old in Columbia has gone before a judge for the first time. 

Rick Chow appeared in court for a hearing at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center Tuesday afternoon on a charge of murder in the death of Cyrus Carmack-Belton. The magistrate informed him that under South Carolina law he could not set bond for him, and said a bond hearing before a circuit court judge would be set for a later date. That means Chow will remain behind bars for now. 

Chow is accused of shooting and killing Carmack-Belton Sunday night along Springtree Drive. 

According to Richland County deputies, the incident began inside Chow's gas station at 7441 Parklane Road in Columbia when Chow accused Carmack-Belton of shoplifting bottles of water. Deputies say the teen did not steal the water, only touching the bottles before putting them back in the cooler. 

The two then got into an argument and the teen left the store. Sheriff Leon Lott said the store owner's son then began chasing the teen, with Chow following while carrying a pistol.  

The chase went near apartments on Springtree Drive, where the victim tripped and fell, but Lott said he then got back up. The son then told his father the teen had a gun, and a few moments later, Lott said Chow shot Carmack-Belton in the back. 

Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford said the gunshot wound caused injuries to the teen's heart. Sheriff Lott said investigators determined the teen did not point a weapon at the store employees. 

A group of protestors gathered on Monday outside the store to demand justice for Carmack-Belton, and held an hours-long vigil. Later that night, some people broke windows to the store and took items from the store. 

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