Bobby McKeithen died after being shot by a fellow student at Butler High School Monday morning, according to Matthews police.
MATTHEWS, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - It was a chaotic morning for both students and parents at Butler High School as they waited to hear exactly what was happening.
Students walked into school like they do every Monday, but quickly found that this Monday was different.
“I didn't see the shooter or the student I just saw everyone running from the danger,” one student said.
One of their classmates had been shot by another in the hallway.
“I was very nervous with the situation and I was like ‘what's going on, what happened, why did he bring a gun to school?’” another questioned.
“We didn't know who got shot but we knew it was someone because we heard the shots being fired,” another told FOX 46.
It all happened shortly after parents had dropped their kids at a place that's supposed to be safe.
“I was on my way to work and heard on the radio about the shooting,” Satiria Hoover said. “It was panic, chaos in my car trying to figure out what to do to get here, calling the school trying to figure out what to do next as a parent.”
Others described the terrifying moments when they found out about the morning’s events.
“He texted me somebody got shot,” said Georgeta Andra. “I was in shock. I couldn't even collect myself.”
Hordes of parents rushed to Butler when they heard about the shooting around 7:15 a.m. They had to wait at Elevation Church near the school before they could get to their children, which was frustrating for many.
“We busted into the school because they didn't let us know what's going on with the kids,” said Andra
The parents say they felt left in the dark for much of the morning.
“It was unbelievable and finally they let us in the school and it was chaos I’m telling you. The parents said ‘please, let the kids go out’ because they said ‘it's going to be a normal day’ and everyone was pissed off. They said ‘how can it be a normal day when a kid is shot in the school?’ The trauma,” Andra said.
Butler High school did stay open all day. Officials say they kept school open for those students whose parents were unable to pick them up.
Several parents like Rodney Stuckey arrived at the school quickly, hoping to see their child safe.
“It's heart wrenching not being able to get my hand on my son, and being able to pull him out of the tough situation that he might be in,” Rodney Stuckey said.
Stuckey was desperate and overcome with emotion as he described rushing to get to his son.
“Got a call from my wife that the school was on lockdown and there was some type of shooting up here,” said Stuckey.
He says his son was in the hallway when the shots rang out at Butler, and he was pulled into a classroom by a teacher.
“I start getting texts from my son that there was a lockdown at the school and they were in their classrooms and he had heard yelling and things going on in the hallway.”
Stuckey got to the school as quickly as he could to pick up his son. When he was finally able to lay eyes on his child, he felt relief as he hugged his child for the first time since he had said goodbye to him that morning.
Some are also remembering their children's classmate, whose parents won't be able to do the same.
“It's terrible you cannot even imagine when you are a parents to see and to get the news your son is shot it's unbelievable,”
16-year-old Jatwan Craig Cuffie admitted to shooting the victim, 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen, who died at the hospital. Stuckey says we can’t let this happen again.
“We've got to do something about this this is not the community that I want to live in where guns are rampant and in our schools we can't have that,” said Stuckey.
The community is coming together after a tragic morning, with vigils planned for Monday night to remember the life of McKeithen, which was taken too soon.
“I’m just sending out prayers for everyone,” said Hoover.
Fox 46 Charlotte spoke with a parent, Ann Norvell, who was trying to pick up her child and ran into the victim's family who had just heard it was their loved one who'd been shot. She offered to take the victim's mom and two siblings to the hospital because the family had a flat tire. Norvell said she was able to get McKeithen's loved ones there before he passed away.
"I'm glad I met you," Norvell said when recalling the drive to the hospital with a car full of the victim's family."I wish it was under different circumstances."