Police: No claims of bullying in Butler High School deadly shooting

Family, friends gather for homegoing services of student killed at Butler High School

MATTHEWS, NC (WBTV) - Matthews Police say they have uncovered no claims of bullying in the deadly incident where a student was shot and killed in the hallways of Butler High School.

In a statement Tuesday, Matthews Police Chief Clark Pennington provided some clarity in the investigation into the cause of the deadly shooting.

“This investigation is still ongoing and there is much more work to be done before we are prepared to deliver the case to the prosecutors, however, at this point we have uncovered no information that supports a claim of bullying in the typical sense of the word. What we know is this stems from an ongoing conflict between our suspect and the victim relating back to an event at the Harris Teeter parking lot.  It is unfair to either party involved in this investigation to prematurely identify a cause before we have had the time to run down all the information.”
Matthews Police Chief Clark Pennington

On Monday, Oct. 29, 16-year-old Jatwan Craig Cuffie shot and killed 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen in the hallways of Butler High School in Matthews.

Cuffie was charged with first-degree murder and a judge stated that he would not consider bond for Cuffie on Oct. 30.

In a press briefing on the day of the shooting, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox initially said the shooting stemmed from bullying that “escalated out of control.”

“As fear took over, a young person brought a gun to solve the problems,” Wilcox said in that press conference.

The day after the shooting, McKeithen’s family addressed these statements issued by Dr. Wilcox.

McKeithen’s mother, Ashley Mewborn, says her son was not a bully. She said her son had a "heart of gold' and helped take care of his younger siblings without asking.

When asked about the role of bullying in this incident, Chief Pennington’s statement read "at this point we have uncovered no information that supports a claim of bullying in the typical sense of the word.”

The statement also addressed a situation in a Harris Teeter parking lot between the two young men.

A felony affidavit detailed what Cuffie said happened prior to and during the deadly encounter. Cuffie said he was in an altercation with several others Friday, Oct. 26 in the Harris Teeter parking lot on Margaret Wallace and Idlewild Road.

The shooting happened around 7:15 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 29 in a hallway near the cafeteria inside the school.

Autopsy results confirmed that McKeithen was shot once in the torso and died after he was rushed to Carolinas Medical Center.

A homegoing service for McKeithen was held at the Progressive Baptist Church in west Charlotte Saturday, Nov. 3.

Hundreds of people from the community packed the church as it was standing room only, and service-goers said they are praying for Cuffie and his family, as they are going through a great loss as well.

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