16-year-old high school student fatally shoots classmate during a fight in a crowded school hallway
The authorities have confirmed that 16-year-old victim was going through surgery after he was left in a life-threatening condition but passed away later that same day.
WARNING: DISTRESSING CONTENT
A student in a high school in North Carolina has died after a fellow student in the school shot him before classes began on October 29 morning. The authorities have confirmed that the victim was going through surgery after he was left in a life-threatening condition from the incident that took place at 7:15 am but passed away later that same day. Footage taken by one of the students was uploaded to Instagram and it shows very limited views of the altercation that took place in Butler High School in Matthews, which is 12 miles outside of Charlotte.
The suspect, 16-year-old Jatwan Cuffie, was identified by the Matthews Police Department and the victim was identified as 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen. Cuffie was taken into custody right after the shooting took place and officers were able to recover his weapon as well. He has been charged with first-degree murder. McKeithen was taken to the Carolinas Medical Center Main at approximately 7:42 a.m. but was declared dead a few hours after he went through surgery, the Daily Mail reported.
According to Dr. Clayton Wilcox, the Superintendent of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), the incident took place in the main hallway of the high school. Police said bullying and a fight over the weekend could have led to the death of the high school student but they have not elaborated on the alleged 'bullying'. Wilcox said it “began with bullying that escalated out of control, and as fear took over a young person brought a gun to solve the problem.”
A video that was posted on the Instagram page of one of the students has been circulating on the web. In the video, the student can be heard calling the incident "kinda crazy". The video also shows the hallway packed with students as Cuffie pulled out a gun and pointed it at McKeithen. One of the students at the scene can be heard shouting, "He's got a gun!" before everyone, including the student who was taking the video, could be seen running for their lives. Detectives who arrived at the school interviewed the visibly upset students who may have witnessed the shooting.
A girl told WCNC that she saw the entire thing happening and even noted that she heard a "pop" before the two students involved in the altercation started "wrestling on the ground". Gavriel Fulcher-Daniels said: "It sounded like a balloon but louder."
An official for the CMS told guardians and parents that an incident took place in the school via emails and telephone calls. Concerned parents were able to get into the Butler High School campus two hours after the incident took place and after the law enforcement officials lifted the lockdown at about 9:15 a.m. they had set in place at the school.
Some of the high school students were even escorted from the building to the main entrance where their parents were waiting for them. Everyone was given strict instructions to be patient so as to ensure the safety of all involved. Relatives were allowed to pick up students at the entrance of the school under the directions of law enforcement officials but classes went on like normal for the students who were still on campus.
The school houses about 2,000 students on its campus. Some of the parents were reportedly given green slips so that they could enter the building and get their frightened children out of class for one day. A witness to the incident described how the distraught parents had no idea what the extent of the shooting was and that they were crying as they arrived at the school to pick up their children.
Many of the worried parents gathered at the Elevation Church close by and prayed together after the incident as they were waiting for some news from the school. One of the parents, whose child was in Building 900, described that her son was in that particular building and it was far away from where the incident took place. The son texted saying he was ok.
Text messages from a student inside Butler High. pic.twitter.com/K67ZuRa7Ba— Ruby Durham WCNC (@RubyElizDurham) 29 October 2018
Another father said that a teacher had locked some of the students in a room as a precaution. The man said that he had dropped off his son just 15 minutes before the incident at "7 am sharp" in time for his mid-term exams. It was at the time that he reached the golf course that he said the notification on his phone from the principal informing all parents of the incident that took place.
The shocked father said how he immediately started texting his son with instructions to stay aware of his surroundings and also texts encouraging his son, all as he was frantically making his way back to the school parking lot. The father told WSOCTV: "The never happened when I was growing up. Ever."