Pictured above: Bobby McKeithen and Jatwan Cuffie – Pictures courtesy of WSIC news partner FOX 46/Matthews Police
MATTHEWS, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) – One student died in the hospital after being shot at a local high school in Matthews Monday morning, WSIC news partner FOX 46 reports.
Police say the shooter was a fellow student and is in custody.
The shooting happened at Butler High School located at 1810 Matthews-Mint Hill Road around 7:10 a.m. just as school began. The lockdown at the school was lifted around 9:15 a.m.
Police have identified the victim as 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen, a sophomore at Butler High School. The shooter has been identified as Jatwan Cuffie, also 16, according to Matthews police. He is charged with first degree murder.
According to Matthews police, a fight broke out at the school Monday morning just before the shooting incident occurred.
“The conflict became bullying that escalated. Fear took over,” said CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox during a press conference Monday. “A young person brought a gun to solve a problem.”
Police advised that there is no further immediate danger at this time and the initial investigation shows this to be an isolated incident.
Parents were told to meet at Elevation Church in Matthews for further information Monday morning. A large group of frustrated parents headed back to the school to “demand answers” and get their children. Shortly after, the lockdown was lifted and parents were allowed to pick up their kids.
“Our decision to keep kids in school was toward one goal, to keep our kids safe and arrange transportation. What would parents have said to us if we let kids run out and didn’t know where they were?”
“Our hearts are with the family, loved ones, friends and everyone affected by the tragedy which occurred this morning at Butler High School. Counseling is available to any student or staff who wishes to speak to someone. The Butler High School community and CMS appreciates the support of the entire community during this difficult time.” — Statement from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
CMS does not have metal detectors in school, nor does it perform searches on students. When asked about the possibility these tools being introduced, Wilcox said it was something the district would need to discuss and come to a decision.
“I can’t promise miracles, but I can promise that we’ll move heaven and earth to keep our kids safe.”
State Superintendent Mark Johnson released the following statement:
“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.”
Matthews Mayor Paul Bailey issued the following statement in regards to the shooting:
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic events at Butler High School this morning. I want to extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of this young man, and to everyone affected at Butler High School. Our hearts are with you, and the community stands behind you. This is a very sad day here in Matthews.”
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles released the following statement:
“I am deeply saddened to learn of today’s tragic killing of a student at Butler High School. I am devastated by another heartbreaking loss of life and my thoughts are with the students and families who have been affected. My heart is with all of you during this time of sorrow.”
Governor Roy Cooper shared the following statement:
“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.”
Message Butler High School sent to parents on Monday:
“This is Principal John LeGrand calling with an important message about our Butler High School community. Butler High School is on lockdown after a student was shot within our building this morning. The single shooter has been apprehended and the weapon is in the possession of law enforcement. Law enforcement has advised that there is no further immediate danger at this time and initial investigation shows this to be an isolated incident. The victim has been transported for medical attention. An investigation by law enforcement continues and officers have secured the campus. I will call soon with an update. Thank you for your support of Butler High School.”
School will not be held Tuesday at Butler High School in order to allow students and staff to process what they have been through, according to CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox.