Butler High shooter indicted on lesser charge

Butler High shooter indicted on lesser charge

Jatwan Cuffie

My apologies as this story is actually close to a month old.

Anyway, last month, 16-year-old Jatwan Cuffie was indicted for the shooting at Butler High School that left 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen dead. However, Cuffie was indicted for the lesser charge of second-degree murder. This could result in a sentence of 12 to 25 years behind bars. Cuffie has been charged as an adult.

While I do feel that Cuffie should spend the rest of his life in prison, I actually agree with the second-degree murder charge. While there had been friction between Cuffie and friends of Bobby McKeithen, I don’t believe that this was a premeditated murder but more of a heat of the moment crime. If you’ll recall, Cuffie took the gun to school after losing a fight to Bobby McKeithen’s friends the night before. McKeithen was only a witness to the fight. So Jatwan Cuffie may have had a target in mind but I doubt that target was Bobby McKeithen and only shot him after a fight broke out between the two.

But this is no consolation to the friends and family of Bobby McKeithen. They will no longer get to see or enjoy the company of Bobby. In a perfect world, Cuffie would go away forever, unfortunately,  the law says otherwise.

Butler High School shooter was not bullied

Butler High School shooter was not bullied

Jatwan Cuffie

When I first posted about the shooting at Butler High School in Matthews, North Carolina, I wondered where 16-year-old Jatwan Cuffie got the gun he used to kill Bobby McKeithen. Well, while it hasn’t been made public yet exactly where he got the gun it has been made public where it first emerged. The .380 pistol was stolen out of a car in neighboring Gaston County. Another responsible gun owner. Guns are plentiful in Gaston County as it is the redneck cousin of Matthews’ Mecklenburg County.

On the day of the shooting, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools decided to keep classes in session after the shooting occurred. A CMS spokesperson said that the decision was made “to provide students with a safe place to stay until their families could come get them.” On paper that sounds reasonable but then again, I’m not a parent who had a child at Butler High that day. How to react to a shooting inside a school is not an exact science and in a perfect world, it never should be.

Cuffie has been charged as an adult and has been ordered held without bail. He is looking at a possible sentence of life without parole.

While the headlines decry that the shooting arose out of some kind of bullying escalation, unsurprisingly, I have my doubts. My first doubt comes from a video that was obtained by the Charlotte Observer that reportedly shows the gunman, Jatwan Cuffie, on the losing side of a fight. Here is the video as posted by The Observer.

While it appears that Cuffie got the crap kicked out of him he also appeared like he was a willing participant in the fight. Not only that but Bobby McKeithen was also in the video, in the blue hoodie, and he had no involvement in the fight outside of being a witness. Combine that with the texts that Cuffie sent to McKeithen after the fight really make me question any kind of bullying motive.

Here is an excerpt of the texts as obtained by WBTV

Cuffie told police he texted McKeithen, asking who he thought won the fight, and that McKeithen indicated the other person did, not Cuffie.

The 16-year-old then texted McKeithen back, saying he “only thought that because [McKeithen] was with the other guys.” Cuffie said McKeithen asked “who is going to check me about it” and Cuffie replied that he was.

Cuffie indicated that one of the men involved in the Harris Teeter altercation wanted to “get him at school.” He said he also got a text asking if he “had beef with [McKeithen] too,” and that he didn’t text back.

To me, it seems less like a bullying situation and more like a rivalry between two groups of Butler High Students to see who is more badass. This wasn’t because of bullying, this was a revenge killing since Cuffie had lost face in the fight. By most accounts, McKeithen was no bully. The real bully is the one who shoots an unarmed student. Remember, a gun is a coward’s weapon.

UPDATE: Just as I was about to hit the post button, I received an alert that says both police and CMS have now said that there was no bullying involved and the shooting arose from an ongoing dispute.

Was the Butler High School shooting caused by bullying?

Was the Butler High School shooting caused by bullying?

Jatwan Cuffie

Yesterday in the Charlotte, North Carolina, suburb of Matthews, a fight broke out between two students of Butler High School. Before it was all over 16-year-old freshman Jatwan Cuffie was said to have shot 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen. McKeithen later died from his injuries at a nearby hospital. Local officials have said that the shooting escalated from a bullying incident. Since there is still a persistent myth that the majority of school shooters were bullied one might assume that it was Cuffie was the one who was bullied since he was the one armed with a gun. I wouldn’t jump to such conclusions.

For one, it’s not unheard of for bullies to commit such shootings. Case in point is the shooting of Lawrence King at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, California. King was an openly gay student who had been thrown out by his own father for being gay. King was also being bullied by Brandon McInerney for being gay. Instead of reacting through violence, King used his intellect to get back at McInerney by pretending to hit on McInerney. McInerney became so enraged he brought a gun to school and shot Lawrence King in the back of the head at point-blank range. I believe that’s called ‘execution style’.

Secondly, so far, there have been no reports on who committed the actual bullying but don’t assume it wasn’t the gunman. According to multiple witnesses, after Cuffie produced the gun, McKeithen turned his back on him but that didn’t stop Cuffie from shooting McKeithen in the back. Many bullies do tend to be cowards. Also, from the reports I’ve read, McKeithen was well liked in the community while I have yet to see any platitudes for Cuffie. Granted, that can be chalked up to the fact that people often talk about the recently deceased, especially those lost to violence like they were saints in life but I’m not getting a vibe of many people willing to stand up for Cuffie.

There’s another part to this story that is almost equally as disturbing as the shooting itself. After the shooting, the school did not cancel classes for the day. Any student whose parents couldn’t come and get them had to spend the remainder of the day at school while it was an active crime scene. As a country, are we that numb to school shootings anymore that it becomes business as usual after one happens or is it a body count issue? “Meh, only one kid died and we can’t afford to lose any snow days so let’s keep going.”

I’ll also be curious to see where the gun came from since even in North Carolina 16-year-old can’t legally purchase handguns. More than likely it came from some ‘responsible’ gun owner.

(Sources)
WSOC
WCNC
WBTV
NYT