Chad Cameron Copley is a 39-year-old man who can be seen in the below video, facing charges of murder. Copley is charged with killing 20-year-old Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas — a black man who was attending a party at the home of a friend who lived on the same street as Copley.
As reported by the Washington Post, Copley took a stance from inside his garage when Chad took a shot that killed Thomas on Sunday, August 7. Chad’s house can be seen in the top photo above, along with the garage of the home in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Those who witnessed the murder say that Thomas’ body lay near the mailbox after he was shot and killed. The words being attributed to Copley during his 911 call are what is catching the attention of the general public in the wake of the killing.
Chad told police that he was going to go face-to-face with the “hoodlums” outside, with claims that Copley was a neighborhood watchman being disputed by his neighbors.
As reported by The News & Observer, Copley’s neighbors on Singleleaf Lane nearby Mitchell Mill Road claimed that they don’t have a neighborhood watch program, like Chad claimed. Authorities report that those neighborhoods that do have neighborhood watch programs should call police and wait for instructions instead of taking violent actions like Copley chose to do.
David Parker, a neighbor of Chad, explained that a neighborhood watch is a position whereby people view and report to authorities what’s going on in their neighborhood — not take on the role of police, judge and jury.
“A neighborhood watch is just that: A watch. You don’t pack and gun and put on a badge like you’re a sheriff.”
Meanwhile, Chad’s words about securing his neighborhood from black males, with “some devil in them” are causing blowback online.
“I am locked and loaded. I’m going outside to secure my neighborhood. We got a bunch of hoodlums out here racing. I’m going outside to secure my neighborhood. 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.”
On another call with police, Chad claimed that black males had guns — however, as seen in the above video, the party host reported not seeing any guns brandished by any of his party guests. Copley went on to try and explain to police why he shot and killed Thomas.
“I yelled at them, ‘Please leave the premises.’ 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. Please just send a car. There’s friggin’ black males outside my friggin’ house with firearms. Please, send PD. Thank you.”
Copley now faces first-degree murder charges as a result of his actions — and could eventually be put to death if Chad receives the death penalty.
Thomas’ friend, David Walker, said that the party they tried to crash became a bust for the duo when another friend told them there were no girls at the party. Walker and Thomas decided to go home — and Thomas began running when he thought he saw police, because Thomas had marijuana.
That’s when Copley shot and killed Thomas.
Simone Butler-Thomas, the victim’s mother, called her son a comedian and “Mr. Safety 101,” due to the way he ensured everyone wore their seat belts.
[Photo by Jonathan Drew/AP Images]