A white man from Raleigh, N.C. has been charged with murder after shooting and killing a young black man he had apparently told a 911 dispatcher was part of a group of "hoodlums."
Police said Chad Cameron Copley, 39, was inside his garage when he fired what he called a "warning shot" at a group of young people outside his home. He hit 20-year-old Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, fatally wounding him, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.
In 911 tapes later released by police that came in around the time of the incident, a man purported to be Copley tells a dispatcher, "We’ve got a bunch of hoodlums out here. I’m locked and loaded, and I’m going outside to secure my neighborhood. You need to send PD as quickly as possible."
The caller continues: "I’m going to secure my neighborhood. 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. They have firearms, and we’re going to secure our neighborhood. If I were you, I’d send PD as quickly as possible."
When the dispatcher asks the man to provide an address or an intersection in addition to the street name, he replies: "Negative, ma’am. It’s in Raleigh, North Carolina. PD can work with that. Thank you." Then the call ends.
A few minutes later the same male calls in again, saying "We have a lot of people outside our house, yelling and shouting profanities. 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 operator asks.
“Well, I don’t know if they were shot or not, ma’am,” the male tells her. “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.”
The operator then asks the man whom he's referring to.
“Ma’am, I don’t know who they are,” he says. "There’s frigging black males outside my frigging house with firearms. Please send PD." Then he hangs up.
In a news release, Raleigh police did not corroborate any of the claims made in the 911 call, except the fact that Thomas was "among people who were outside of Copley's home," The Associated Press reported.
The News & Observer spoke with a friend of Thomas', who explained the pair were trying to get into a party a couple doors' down from Copley's home. They were on their way home when Thomas was shot.
“He turned his head back to me, and that’s when a shot went off," David Walker said. "We didn’t know that it came from the house. We were all looking around like, who got a gun?”
Another party attendee told the paper the party was quiet.
“It was silent,” Jordan Lewis, 16, said. “No fighting and no arguing and no one waving guns.”
Copley was arrested hours later after additional calls about the disturbance came in, and was charged with murder, the AP reported. He is being held without bond.
"We're broken apart torn apart, not doing well," said an unnamed man at Thomas' home when reached by the AP. "Trying to get our lives back on track the way it was but it's hard. We lost somebody very special to us."
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.