Man Kills His New Black Neighbors Without Warning Because He Assumed They Were Thieves
A man had recently purchased some property in Barboursville,
West Virginia and was curious to explore it. He invited his brother
along to show him around. While out on his newly acquired property, a
man who owned property adjacent to it thought they were trying to break
into a building he mistakenly thought was on his property and, without
warning or confrontation, shot both men dead.
Police say after they arrested Rodney Bruce Black and charged him
with two counts of first degree murder he told them he killed the men
for breaking and entering a building on his property, which turned out
to be on the victim’s property and was rightfully the victim’s to look
Police say they are “baffled” as to why Black chose to murder the men
without even attempting to contact police or ask them what they were
doing. Instead, he grabbed his rifle and calmly shot both of them before
they even knew he was there.
“He shot first and then called 911,” Sheriff Tom McComas
said. “He said they were breaking into his house but it wasn’t his
The two victims, identified as brothers Garrick and Carl Hopkins, died at the scene.
Making the already senseless crime even more so, Black admitted to
police that he didn’t believe there was anything of value in the shed he
saw the two victims looking into. Apparently, it was just out of
principle that he decided to grab his gun and play judge, jury, and
After his arrest, police found a large cache of guns and ammo in
Black’s house. While the shooter was white and both victims were black,
police say they are not looking at race as a motive in the killings.
It’s of course difficult to prove what was going on in Black’s head at
the time of the killings, and harder still to prove that in court, but
this case is part of a larger trend of black people being mistakenly (or
in this case, intentionally) shot by white people because they are
perceived as threats.
A highly publicized police shooting
in Charlotte, N.C. started when a black man who had crashed his car
went to a house looking for help but was perceived to be an intruder.
The home owner called 911, not to report the crash, but to report a
possible break in. The man was eventually shot to death by a white
police officer responding to the call. Was the home owner racist? Not
necessarily. But was his or her experience shaded by preconceived
notions about black men? Certainly.
In a case in Florida, a man who was getting gas next to a car full of
black teenagers ended up firing eight shots into their vehicle because
he “thought” he saw a shotgun being aimed at him. He killed one of the
boys. When police searched the vehicle no guns were found. Despite that,
the shooter claimed self-defense in court.
Cases like these highlight what many African Americans already know.
It can be dangerous just being black around people who are on edge. It’s
for this reason that many black parents have to teach their kids to be
extra accommodating in high stress situations. No sudden movements
around cops. Be overly friendly. Hands where the officer can see them at
all times. It’s often times a matter of life and death.
Again, it’s impossible to say whether this particular shooter was
racially biased or simply generally violent. Would he have shot two
white men looking into a shed? We will never know.
Hopkins was planning on building a home for he and his wife in the next few weeks. Both victims leave behind children.