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Convenience store surveillance cleares Charleston, S.C. mayoral candidate

Published by Jennifer on October 17, 2007 9:16 AM

The scene: an El Cheapo convenience store in Charleston, South Carolina. Off-duty police officer and mayoral candidate Omar Brown swings by El Cheapo to grab some snacks - a seemingly normal stop on a normal day off work. Brown never tasted the chemically sweetness of his snack cakes, however. Before he left, he had shot another man, Antonio Rivers, seven times. After the smoke cleared, controversy began to boil over. However, Brown has been cleared of any charges. Why? El Cheapo's comprehensive surveillance system.

The images show it happening like this: Brown walks in, reaches around Rivers to grab something to eat, bumping his shoulder in the process. Next, Rivers, who is supsected to have misinterpreted the mistaken bump, rushing out to his car, grabbing a gun (which he concealed behind his back), and walking toward Brown in the parking lot. Brown, acting quickly on suspicions and years of experience in the police department, responded quickly, firing seven times at Rivers.

Witnesses nearby called 911, giving gripping accounts of the scene; such lucid descriptions as "Holy @#@#. I thought he was gonna shoot me," and "pow, pow, pa pow" (presumably giving an onomatopoeia for the sounds of the shot).

Law enforcement arrived and the investigation began. El Cheapo's surveillance cameras played a crucial role in the investigation, according to Charleston County solicitors and investigators. Thanks to the footage, they were able to determine what exactly happened, and after seeing Browns' actions, clear him of all charges based on South Carolina's Castle Doctrine, which states "A person is not required to wait 'til his assailant gets the drop on him." According to the surveillance footage and this doctrine, police and officials believe that Brown was acting in the right.

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