A man in Raleigh, North Carolina has been arrested after fatally shooting another man from inside of his garage. Chad Copley, 39, was charged in the shooting death of 20-year-old Kouren Rodney Bernard-Thomas. According to CNN, the shooting took place on Sunday at 1 a.m. and has already drawn comparisons to George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. Copley is white. Bernard-Thomas was black.
On Sunday, Copley made a phone call to the Raleigh Police Department to report that people were standing outside of his house. Copley told the dispatcher that he was “locked and loaded” and that he was trying to “protect [his] house and family.” He told the dispatcher that he was part of the neighborhood watch and that he was going outside to “secure” the neighborhood from “hoodlums” that were racing up and down the street.
Moments later, a man reported that someone had been shot. The shooting was said to have come from “inside the garage.” A woman at Copley’s house, presumably his wife, called to say she was upstairs with the children before handing the phone to Copley. He said that he “fired a warning shot” but couldn’t be sure whether anybody had been hit. When asked by the dispatcher to elaborate on the details Copley responded “ma’am, I don’t know these f***ing people. I’m trying to secure my premises. Please send PD immediately.”
Prior to the shooting, there were no other calls or units requested for the block where the shooting occurred. According to CNN, there was a party next door to Copley’s residence where Bernard-Thomas was attending. His mother, Munyir Simone Butler Thomas, said that her son was celebrating a move to a new apartment. She has started a GoFundMe in order to cover his funeral expenses.