The mother of Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, a black man who was killed on Sunday in Raleigh, North Carolina, is pleading for justice and social change after such a devastating and horrific act. A white male homeowner claimed that he was going to “secure his neighbourhood” from “hoodlums,” and then shot and killed the 20-year-old man.
— EBONY MAGAZINE (@EBONYMag) August 10, 2016
The attorney for the family of Thomas has now begun referring to the gunman as “George Zimmerman 2.0” as an allusion to the neighbourhood watch volunteer who shot and killed unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin four years earlier in Florida.
The mother of Thomas, Simone Butler-Thomas, is now speaking out about her fear over the safety of her surviving sons due to the inspiration behind the gunman having killed Thomas. The Washington Post shares the words of Simone Butler-Thomas, stated during a telephone interview.
“Now it makes me even more scared, because I have two more sons that walk home from work or drive places. So my whole life is going to be worried about what is the next call going to be.”
The gunman, Chad Copley, 39, shot from within his garage on Sunday morning, killing Thomas, whose friends and family relay was simply walking to his car after leaving a party. Copley described his first shot as a “warning shot” then called 911 stating to dispatchers that he was “locked and loaded” with the intent to confront “hoodlums” who were apparently armed and racing around the streets, as noted by officials from the 911 recording.
“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.”
Copley then stated to the 911 operator, “We got somebody that got hit.” Upon arrival at the scene, officers found Thomas suffering from a gunshot wound and was later pronounced dead at hospital.
Copley was later arrested and is now in Wake County jail, charged with first-degree murder. If Copley is convicted, he potentially faces the death penalty.
A shooting in North Carolina is drawing comparisons to George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin https://t.co/4GNXA5te60
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 11, 2016
Thomas’ mother shared that she believed the gunman’s actions were motivated by race and that the party her son attended near Copley’s house was “benign.”
“If there was a group of Caucasian kids skateboarding up and down the street, would he have done that to them? It was just kids being kids. Some of them were excited because it was probably their last hurrah before going off to college. This man killed my child because he was crazy. They weren’t bothering him. There was no reason. He killed my son for nothing.”
Copley’s attorney, Raymond C. Tarlton, declined to comment on Thursday, yet earlier this week stated it was too soon to jump to conclusions.
“We have seen too many wrongful convictions for anyone or any organization to jump to conclusions on the basis of someone being charged. We urge restraint and that folks not rush to judgment.”
Justin Bamberg, the prosecutor in the case, representing the Thomas family, shares that the reason that this sort of an act even occurred is because the accused in the Trayvon Martin case was acquitted.
“One reason we keep seeing these things happen is that they look at situations like George Zimmerman and see the fact that at the end of the day, he was acquitted. Mr. Copley was not in danger. I don’t believe that anybody can find that his fear — if there was any — was reasonable, given the facts. He fired from his garage into the street and then killed an innocent person.”
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Image]