Raleigh homeowner who complained about 'hoodlums' indicted in fatal shooting
Posted August 22, 2016
Updated August 23, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.