A Butler High School student was fatally shot during a fight with another student around 7 a.m. Monday.
Matthews police identified the victim as 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen. The shooter, another student, was identified as 16-year-old Jatwan Cuffie. Cuffie has been charged with first-degree murder.
Police said the shooting was potentially a case of bullying that escalated.
A student resource officer on the campus responded to a commotion near the school's cafeteria at 7:14 a.m., where he located McKeithen after he was shot. The officer, police said, was able to render him aid.
Matthews Police Captain Stason Tyrell said the school resource officer sent a command to lock the school down and, within five to seven minutes, was able to apprehend Cuffie, who had surrendered to a teacher and admitted to shooting McKeithen.
As far as specifics about the altercation leading up to the shooting, and how Cuffie acquired the gun and brought it to campus, Tyrell was tight-lipped about the specifics.
“As far as details of how he came to have a gun, we’re not releasing that at this time,” Tyrell said. “We are very much interested in that aspect of the investigation as well.”
He did make one thing clear — that students need to come forward if they know something.
“As we all know, the gun did make it to campus,” Tyrell said. “It’s very, very important that we continue to get the message out that if you see something, say something.”
CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said the school would be closed on Tuesday so students and teachers could process Monday's shooting. He also addressed security on the campus.
"We do not have metal detectors in our schools, we do not search our students on the way into school," Wilcox said. "Our schools and students rely on cooperation between and amongst and each other and today that simply wasn’t enough."
Parents were permitted to pick their children up from school after the shooting but had to sign them out in-person at the front entrance.
Classes did proceed on campus for students not retrieved by their parents. Wilcox said this was because students could only be released to family members or guardians.
Yvonne Gloston, a parent of a CMS high schooler, said her child does not go to Butler, but that she had friends and family with children at the high school and traveled to the school site after the shooting. She said the shooting has the school community in disbelief.
“My niece is home – she’s home safe. I have friends that they’re home safe,” Gloston said. “They’re so shaken up right now that they can’t even talk about what happened. It’s affected them to the point that it’s like a silence has come over them.”
She said the shooting reveals just how serious the conversation about school safety really is.
“[CMS] is really going to have to look at security,” she said. “You don’t want to miss patting down a child – and I wouldn’t say pat them down, but they have to come up with something, some way to find out if they’re bringing guns to school – if they’re bringing knives to school, or anything like that.”
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement Monday afternoon that something must be done.
“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,” Cooper said.
Cooper also said he was “heartbroken” by the Butler High shooting and sent his condolences to the family of the fallen student, and the community at large.
Matthews Mayor Paul Bailey also offered his condolences to everyone affected at Butler High.
“Our hearts are with you, and the community stands behind you,” Bailey said. “This is a very sad day here in Matthews."
This is a developing story…