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Vigil Held For Victim Of Butler High School Shooting

Jessa O'Connor
Candles were lit in remembrance of Bobby McKeithen, the 16-year-old who was shot and killed Monday at Butler High School. A vigil was held in his honor Thursday evening.

Family, friends and classmates of Bobby McKeithen held a vigil last night at Camp Greene Park in west Charlotte.

The crowd gathered to light candles, sing and remember the 16-year-old who was shot and killed during a fight with fellow student Jatwan Cuffie, who’s also 16.

The vigil was held on the same day that classes resumed at Butler High.

Among the organizers of the ceremony was Judy Williams. Williams, who people affectionately call Ms. Judy, has organized hundreds of vigils through her organization Moms of Murdered Offspring. Last night, she had a message for the grief-stricken community before her: violence isn’t worth it.

"If there’s anybody out there tonight that’s beefing with somebody, squash it," Williams said. "It ain’t worth it. Whatever you think that it’s worth, it ain't worth a penny when it comes to a life."

People murmured in agreement, including Justin Hill — McKeithen’s cousin. He’s from South Carolina but says he wishes he’d been at Butler that day. But despite the distance, he was close with his cousin. More than anything, he wished he could stop the fight before it ended in a gunshot.

"I wish I could have been there as far as being the one to break it up," Hill said. "There was over 200 people there, maybe more. They was watching it. They could’ve broken it up. Somebody having the courage to do that, my cousin could be alive right now. He’d be breathing."

Devante Stanton is a sophomore. He didn’t know McKeithen but said he’s felt the shock and sadness linger at school days later.

"Coming back today was hard, walking down that hallway. It sort of don’t feel real at one point, but somebody ain't with us no more," Stanton said. "We gotta keep going on, you know, making the best of what we got happening."

His mother, Mindy Stanton, said it’s been hard to process the shooting with her kids at home. She says all she can do as a parent is encourage her kids to be honest about how they’re feeling.

"We just talk about it, you know. Make sure everybody’s doing all right," Mindy Stanton said. "Keeping all lines of communication open so  the kids know they can always come to us."

Mindy Stanton says it was a hard decision to let her son go back to school yesterday, but in the end, she did. They’re trying to establish a sense of normal.

McKeithen's funeral is scheduled for noon on Saturday and will take place at Progressive Baptist Church.