Chad Copley told the 911 operator to send a police car fast — he was “locked and loaded,” he said, and going outside to confront a group of “hoodlums.”
“We got a bunch of hoodlums out here racing,” the 39-year-old Raleigh man told the dispatcher early Sunday morning. “I’m going outside to secure my neighborhood.”
The dispatcher, responding to Copley, asked: “You’re going to do what?”
“I’m going to secure my neighborhood,” Copley said.
He continued: “I’m on neighborhood watch. I am going to have the neighborhood meet these hoodlums out here racing up and down the street. It’s 1 in the morning. There’s some devil in them. They have firearms and we’re going to secure our neighborhood. If I was you, I would send PD out here as quickly as possible.”
A few minutes later, Copley was on the phone with dispatchers again.
This time, haltingly, he explained the aftermath:
“I yelled at them, ‘Please leave the premises,’ ” he said. “They were showing firearms, so I fired a warning shot and uh, we got somebody that got hit. …
“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 dispatcher pressed for more information: Who’s been shot, how badly are they injured — and where, exactly, is the victim?
“Please just send a car,” Copley responded. “There’s friggin’ black males outside my friggin’ house with firearms. Please, send PD. Thank you.”
He then hung up.
When officers arrived, they found a 20-year-old black man, Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, dying of a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.
Some details of the fatal confrontation remain unclear, but Raleigh police say Copley, who is white, fired at Thomas from inside his garage.
Copley was questioned, then taken to Wake County jail, where he’s charged with first-degree murder. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
SOURCE: Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
The Washington Post