MATTHEWS, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A day that started in chaos at Butler High School ended in prayer. Students, parents, teachers and community members were pulled back to the school on Matthew-Mint Hill Road.
“I didn’t know Bobby personally but he was one of us,” said Butler High School Senior Blake Elizalde. “He was a part of the student body. He was targeted.”
Shots rang out early Monday morning in the hallway. Students told FOX 46 it started as a fist fight turned deadly. Freshman Jatwan Cuffie allegedly shot and killed sophomore Bobby McKeithen.
“Lights went black, everyone was told to get in the corner of the classroom” said Elizalde, describing how teachers barricaded classroom doors.
Together the community raised candles, released balloons, and spoke words of love for the slain sophomore. One student took the microphone saying “What the world says divides us, now binds us together.” Another said, “We shouldn’t have to fear but look forward to high school.”
A grandmother who says her three students knew the victim held her loved ones tight: “I think it’s going to make the community stronger,” said Priscilla Terry. “There are so many sad students tonight, I hope they look to the God for relief.”
CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox said the incident started as bullying that escalated out of control. While some students may not have the answers how to stop bullying, they won’t forget the lessons and heartbreak felt on this tragic day.
“I don’t know what the right answer is but something needs to be done,” said Elizalde.