Court Documents Reveal Suspect's Version Of Fatal Butler High Shooting
The fatal shooting at Butler High School in Matthews was sparked by a fight over the weekend, according to court documents that detail statements made to police by the suspect. Sixteen-year-old Jatwan Craig Cuffie is charged with first-degree murder in Monday’s shooting of 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen.
Cuffie waived his rights in giving his version of the shooting to police. He told investigators that the school shooting started with another fight.
Cuffie told police that on Friday, he and a friend fought three other males in a Harris Teeter parking lot. Cuffie said they ran off when a knife was pulled on them. Then, over the weekend, one of the guys they fought called Cuffie to say it was a good fight. He asked Cuffie who he thought won.
That’s when Bobby McKeithen’s name came up. Cuffie said that since McKeithen saw the fight, he thought to ask him. So he did, and McKeithen thought Cuffie had lost.
Cuffie and McKeithen then argued by text message. Numerous messages between those involved in Friday's fight were exchanged over the weekend, some calling for a rematch at the parking lot or at school on Monday. McKeithen isn’t mentioned in this part of the court document.
Cuffie told investigators that he was afraid Monday morning and retrieved a gun from the woods on his way to the bus stop. Matthews police say the gun used in the shooting was stolen from a car in Gaston County.
Before classs started, Cuffie told police he stood in a corner in the hallway, talking to a friend, when McKeithen punched him in the face. Cuffie said as they were fighting, he shot McKeithen.
Cuffie said after the shooting, he ran to his math teacher’s class and told her the gun was in his book bag. Not long afterward, the police arrived and placed Cuffie under arrest. McKeithen died later that morning.
Cuffie appeared in district court Tuesday. His public defender’s request for bond and an electronic ankle monitor were denied. Cuffie faces first-degree murder charges as an adult and is being held in the county’s jail in north Charlotte, where they have a high school. Cuffie has a bond hearing set for Nov. 7. A court official says that hearing may not happen if, as expected, Cuffie is indicted first by grand jury.
Cuffie is now being represented by a firm that includes George Laughrun and Michael Greene. Their firm defended former CMPD officer Randall Kerrick in a fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Jonathan Ferrell, and former UNC Charlotte quarterback Kevin Olsen in his recent rape trial that ended in a not guilty verdict.