A 39-year-old Raleigh, North Carolina man is behind bars after firing a warning shot at a Black party-goer that ended up killing him on Sunday, Aug. 7.
According to WTVD ABC 11, homeowner Chad Copley called 911 at 1 a.m. Sunday after fearing for his family and himself. In the 911 call, he admitted to firing a warning shot from his garage but was unsure if it hit anyone.
Copley: We have a lot of people outside of 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 we got somebody that got hit.
911: Somebody was shot?
Copley: I don’t know if they’re shot or not, ma’am. I fired my warning shot like I’m supposed to by law.
Then Copley tells the dispatcher that he will defend his neighborhood from “hoodlums.”
Copley: It’s Singleleaf Lane. We’ve had a bunch of hoodlums out here racing. I am locked and loaded.
Copley: I’m gonna 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 one o’clock in the morning. They have firearms and we’re gonna secure our neighborhood. If I were you, I’d send PD as quickly as possible.
The Raleigh Police Department stated that the 20-year-old victim, Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, was pronounced dead after arriving at a local hospital.
ABC 11 spoke to neighbor Jalen Lewis, who hosted the party Thomas was attending that Sunday night. Lewis says he has had no interactions with Copley.
“The man’s body was right in front of the mailbox,” Lewis tells reporters. “I don’t know how he was a threat from the garage … Just kinda — I don’t know, it sounds borderline hate crime. It’s just a bad situation overall. Let’s just hope justice gets served and they get all the details so they know how to handle it.”
Police have been to Copley’s home four times within the last year for various issues, including fraud and a domestic dispute.
Copley made his first court appearance Aug. 8 and has been charged with murder. He is due back in court at the end of the month.