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Chad Copley was arrested and charged with first-degree murder after shooting 20-year-old Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, who was leaving a party in Copley's Raleigh, NC neighborhood early Sunday morning. According to reports, Copley told 911 dispatchers that he was "locked and loaded" and ready to confront some "hoodlums" outside of his house before the incident.
The 39-year-old told the dispatcher, "We got a bunch of hoodlums out here racing. I'm going outside to secure my neighborhood," to which the dispatcher replied, "You're going to do what?" Copley reportedly 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."
Moments later he called back and told dispatchers that someone had been shot, "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."
After the dispatcher tried to get more information about the victim, Copley replied, "Please just send a car. There's friggin' black males outside my friggin' house with firearms. Please, send PD. Thank you."
When officers arrived on the scene, 20-year-old Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas was found dying in a yard in the neighborhood. According to friends with the man that night, they were leaving a party they were trying to crash when Thomas thought he saw police. Thomas then started taking off running when he was hit by a shot fired by Copley from inside of his garage.
If convicted, Copley could face the death penalty.