A North Carolina homeowner has been charged with fatally shooting a man with a shotgun blast that police said was fired from inside his garage.
Just minutes before Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, 20, was fatally shot, 911 dispatchers got a call from someone claiming to be on the “neighborhood watch” and complaining about “hoodlums” outside his house.
“We’ve got a bunch of hoodlums out here racing,” the man can be heard on audio from a 911 call to the Raleigh Police Department. “I am locked and loaded. I’m going to secure my neighborhood.”
Minutes later, Thomas was dead and now 39-year-old Chad Cameron Copley is charged with first degree murder and being held in the Wake County Detention Center.
If convicted, Copley could face the death penalty.
Copley fired the fatal shot early Sunday from inside the garage of his home on Singleleaf Lane, police said.
Thomas had just left a party two doors down from Copley’s home when he was hit, according to a friend interviewed by the Raleigh News & Observer.
The first of the 911 calls came in around 1 a.m. Sunday. Police did not identify any of the callers in the audio tapes they released in the wake of the fatal shooting.
“You need to send PD a quickly as possible,” a man can be heard telling a dispatcher. “I’m on neighborhood watch. I’m gonna have the neighbors with me.”
In a subsequent 911 call released by police, the same man can be heard 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,” he said.
“Someone was shot?” the dispatcher asked.
“Well, I don’t know if they were shot or not, ma’am,” the man replied. “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.”
When the dispatcher asked who he was talking about, the man could be heard saying, “Ma’am, I don’t know who they are.”
“There’s frigging black males outside my friggin' house with firearms,” he says. “Please sent PD.”
Copley is white and Thomas is black.
In another of the 911 calls released by police, an unidentified man can be heard saying, "They shot him from the house. Didn't do a damn thing to nobody."
Lorrin Freeman, the local Wake County District Attorney, said under North Carolina law the 911 calls are public record but not the redacted information and she declined to identify the callers.