SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Fighting back tears, the aunt of the teen accused of shooting a student on the campus of Salisbury High School on Monday says her nephew is not a thug.
"DaJuan is not this thugged out individual," Shenita Russell told WBTV. "You can ask any of his teachers...he was not a troubled kid."
Russell, 17, is dealing with a lot of trouble now. He's in jail under a bond of one million dollars for shooting Shaleek Williams just outside the gym on Monday after classes had been dismissed.
Police say Russell, who is not a student, came on campus with at least two other young men, and that they were looking to continue some sort of altercation they had been involved in over the weekend with unknown persons.
Williams saw that a fight was staring, and tried to break it up. Russell punched Williams in the face then shot him in the stomach, according to police.
Williams was treated and released from the hospital on Monday night. Russell was apprehended by police at his aunt's home late Monday.
Russell was in court Tuesday morning for his first appearance before judge Kevin Eddinger. Eddinger appointed Steven Gray to be Russell's attorney, then, without anyone asking, raised the bond from $250,000 to one million dollars.
Shenita Russell told WBTV that when the bond was raised her heart "dropped to the bottom" of her feet. She says she does not think she will be able to have Russell released on bond.
She also said that she does not like her son is being portrayed in the community, and describes him as bright and intelligent, but hampered by the lack of opportunities in the community for jobs and what she says is a lack of concern for young people.
"That's my baby, that's my son," Russell said. "I have raised him since he was like 6 years old, so it's very hurtful, it's very hurtful, cause he's not equipped for that, he's not even equipped to be out on the streets."
"Judgement has already been made, but if you know the Russell family you know that DaJuan was not this thugged out individual but also DaJuan has to, if you're out there playing the game in the streets, there are consequences that come along with that," Russell added.