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Raleigh homeowner who complained about 'hoodlums' indicted in fatal shooting

Posted August 22
Updated August 23

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— A Raleigh homeowner who shot and killed a man two weeks ago after complaining about "hoodlums" in his neighborhood was indicted Monday on a charge of murder.

Chad Cameron Copley, 39, of 3536 Single Leaf Lane, told a 911 dispatcher on Aug. 7 that he was "locked and loaded" and planned to "secure the neighborhood" because people attending a nearby house party were vandalizing the area and shouting profanities.

Investigators said Copley fired a shotgun through a window from inside his garage, striking Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, 20, who was outside.

After the shooting, Copley's wife called 911, and he told a dispatcher that he was "trying to protect myself and my family" because the people outside had firearms.

There has been no evidence showing that Thomas was armed or was even on Copley's property when he was shot.

"We are pleased that the individual who shot and killed Kouren Thomas has been indicted for his reckless actions and will face a jury of his peers. Kouren's family is also pleased with the way authorities have handled this case throughout the entire process," Justin Bamberg, an attorney for Thomas' family, said in a statement. "They hope that today's indictment sends a clear message that this kind of malicious behavior cannot, and will not, be tolerated."

Bamberg has likened the case to the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida, going so far as to call Copley "George Zimmerman 2.0." Zimmerman was the neighborhood watch volunteer who was charged and later acquitted of killing Martin, a black 17-year-old, who was walking though his gated community.

Speaking on the phone Monday night, Bamberg said Thomas' mother cried tears of joy when she heard the news of Copley's indictment.

"Today was a very good day, but it's also bittersweet," he said. "Their son is gone. Their brother is gone."

Raymond C. Tarlton, an attorney representing Copley, declined to comment on the indictment.

Following Copley's arrest, Tarlton cautioned people against jumping to conclusions about Copley.

Bamberg said the Thomas family is prepared for the potentially long process that could come with the impending trial.

"The family won't be satisfied until a jury of Mr. Copley's peers finds him guilty of the crime that he committed and that is murder in our opinion," he said.

9 Comments

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  • Haley Sessoms Aug 24, 7:50 a.m.
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    Well what was (Obama's could be son) doing in that neighborhood in the first place. And yes Trayvonne did beat his but and under Florida statute 776.013(3) which is the stand your ground law gives you the right to defend yourself with deadly force if you are stopping someone from doing bodily harm to you. So yes he did the right thing to me. I know if someone beats my head into the concrete I will be pulling pinky out my purse and be the next weak scared loser your talking about. That's if you ask me

  • Sean Creasy Aug 24, 7:28 a.m.
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    Watch out for self appointed hall monitors!! I guess (sarcasm) isn't allowed in some people's world...

  • Raleigh Rose Aug 23, 4:59 p.m.
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    The problem here is that Copley admitted to firing a warning shot. You don't fire your gun unless there is a clear immediate threat and you know what the threat is. By Copley's own words, he didn't do that. He stated he fired a warning shot, and fired it into a group of people. Any conceal carry class or gun safety training will tell you to not pull your gun or shoot unless you know what you need to hit. If this guy was so threatened he felt the need to use his gun, then why did he fire that warning shot at all? Why didn't he shoot at whatever or whomever he felt threatened by? The victim was not on his property and the shooter was in his garage. And the police have stated no weapon was found, not just a friend of the victim.

  • Johnny Ghosts Aug 23, 3:56 p.m.
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    yup.. Zimmerman walks up to a stranger and starts grilling him about being in the neighbor hood, Zimmerman starts the fight , gets his bnutt kicked by a teenager then shoots him... That's your hero a weak, scared loser with a gun. That's more scary than a black kid just hanging out in the street... If you ask me

  • Haley Sessoms Aug 23, 12:19 p.m.
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    No one knows the facts about this case except for law enforcement and the prosecutors. All we know is a guy is dead and we know who killed him. We don't know what led up to it. He claimed he had a gun who knows his buddy's didn't pick it up and run with it after he was shot? WE DON'T!!! So until he is convicted I won't believe this guy was just walking down the street. Oh yea and a George Zimmerman 2.0 that's ridiculous George Zimmerman was well within his rights to defend himself and that's what he did. This is not even close to being similar but that's what the media is doing now playing the race card everyday

  • Charles Edwards Aug 23, 10:32 a.m.
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    Wow, Sean Creasy, how much misinformation can you spread? Let's focus on facts. The house the alleged gunman lives in, according to Wake County records, is 1,476 square feet and has a tax value of $158,000. A far cry than your spouting of $350k. What does your misinformation or where he is from or house value have anything to do with this story or the facts of the shooting?

  • Sean Creasy Aug 23, 7:01 a.m.
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    Over entitled arrogant fool with a gun!!! I can't help but wonder where he is originally from... Up north somewhere maybe?? (sarcasm) Just because he had the money to buy a $350,000 house doesn't mean he gets to dictate what the rest of the neighborhood does or doesn't get to do... People like this are what give good responsible gun owners a bad name... Judging by the picture provided here it looks like he still feels he didn't do anything wrong... I hope he gets his deserves when he gets to Central....

  • Clarence Drumgoole Aug 22, 10:42 p.m.
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    Sad, young, seemingly intelligent looking, would do such a thing. Agree, a lot of people lives, screwed up behind this act!

  • John White Aug 22, 8:33 p.m.
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    From his own 911 call from previous stories he is guilty. So this man should spend life in jail no less no more. This one person has destroyed two families. The victim's and his own family. He does not own his own life anymore. It belongs to the state as it should. Now for the trial to actually make it official that he will live in a small jail cell the rest of his life.