Bullying leads to fatal shooting at Charlotte-area high school, officials say

National and World
Jatwan Cuffie

MATTHEWS, N.C. (WNCN) – A male student was shot and killed at a high school outside Charlotte on Monday morning, Matthews police said.

Police said on Facebook just before 8 a.m. that officers had responded to a shooting at Butler High School. The shooting occurred around 7:15 a.m., according to WBTV, the Charlotte CBS affiliate.

Sophomore Bobby McKeithen, 16, was shot and transported to the hospital in critical condition and later died, police said.

Freshman Jatwan Cuffie, 16, was taken into custody and the weapon is in the possession of law enforcement.

Cuffie has been charged with first-degree murder. 

Matthews Police Cpt. Stason Tyrrell said a feud between the two students built up over the weekend. Some students knew there would be an altercation.

 Superintendent Clayton M. Wilcox said the shooting was a result of “bullying that escalated out of control.”

Police later said the shooting was the result of a fight between two students.

“We heard a bang and we seen them starting to fight,” Butler High School senior, Lester Henline, told WBTV. “All of the sudden he pulled out a pistol and everybody started running.”

Butler High School was on lockdown for about 70 minutes, according to information from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Parents were notified of the incident via phone calls, the school system said.

A WBTV reporter was shown text messages sent from one student to their mother while the shooting was happening.

Students at the school told one WBTV reporter that they weren’t surprised the shooting happened because “it happens everywhere in 2018.”

North Carolina State Superintendent Mark Johnson released a statement on the shooting shortly after the student’s death was announced.

I am heartbroken to hear that we have lost a student to school violence in one of our schools. We have contacted Charlotte-Mecklenburg authorities and will assist in any way we can, but of course our first thoughts are for the parents and other loved ones of the student who passed away. The safety of our students is paramount. This is a sad day for all of North Carolina, and we must work together as a community to address these problems.”

On Monday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper also issued a statement regarding the shooting.

I am heartbroken to hear about today’s school violence that has taken the life of a high school student in Matthews, and my family is praying for this community. I have been in touch with local officials to offer condolences and state support as needed. As we get more information it is critical that we come together to do everything in our power to prevent these incidents from happening and keep guns out of our schools.”

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