New details give suspect’s side of story behind fatal shooting at Butler High School in Matthews

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MATTHEWS, N.C. — Police documents shed light on what may have led to the fatal shooting at Butler High School in Matthews, North Carolina.

Jatwan Cuffie, 16, is accused of shooting and killing fellow student 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen, according to authorities at a press conference on Monday.

Cuffie faces a first-degree murder charge in McKeithen's death.

A felony affadavit obtained by WBTV gives the suspect's side of the story.

On the Friday before the shooting, Cuffie and several others were in an altercation at a Harris Teeter parking lot.

One of the men in the fight pulled out a knife, Cuffie said. That's when he ran away.

The teenager later texted McKeithen, who he says witnessed the fight, to ask who won.

McKeithen reportedly said the other person did.

Cuffie claimed that he believed one of the men in the altercation wanted to "get him at school," WBTV reports.

The teen then got his gun from the woods.

"Jatwan said he had the gun in his jacket pocket when he went to the bus stop,” the affidavit reads, according to WBTV.

While Cuffie was standing in a corner at school on Monday, McKeithen approached and punched him in the face, Cuffie said.

“Jatwan put his arm up to protect himself and he grabbed the gun from his pocket and he shot Bobby one time,” the affadavit reads.

Suspect: Jatwan Cuffie

Officials said the shooting happened in a main hallway at about 7 a.m. after a fight between the suspect and victim.

Cuffie admitted to the crime and surrendered at the school, according to authorities. He was apprehended in a classroom.

The victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition where he died.

Police believe this was an isolated incident and have obtained the weapon.

WBTV reports the weapon was stolen out of Gaston County in August, but officials do not know who stole the weapon.

The suspect and victim were both 16, but the suspect was in 9th grade, while the victim was in 10th grade.

Police said a school resource officer was nearby and reached the victim within 15 to 20 seconds after the shooting. The officer then placed the school on lockdown and informed other law enforcement.

“We’re incredibly sad, and we’re sorry for this family,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox. “But we’re also sorry for the young person who thought the only way to solve this problem was with a gun.”

A CMS spokesperson released the following statement:

"Our hearts are with the family, loved ones, friends and everyone affected by the tragedy which occurred this morning at Butler High School. Counseling is available to any student or staff who wishes to speak to someone. The Butler High School community and CMS appreciates the support of the entire community during this difficult time. CMS will provide updates throughout today, as warranted."

Governor Roy Cooper released the following statement:

"I am heartbroken to hear about today's school violence that has taken the life of a high school student in Matthews, and my family is praying for this community. I have been in touch with local officials to offer condolences and state support as needed. 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."

State Superintendent Mark Johnson released the following statement:

"I am heartbroken to hear that we have lost a student to school violence in one of our schools. We have contacted Charlotte-Mecklenburg authorities and will assist in any way we can, but of course our first thoughts are for the parents and other loved ones of the student who passed away. The safety of our students is paramount. This is a sad day for all of North Carolina, and we must work together as a community to address these problems."

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