MATTHEWS, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - The family of 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen spoke out for the first time Tuesday morning following the fatal shooting of their loved one at Butler High School in Matthews.
"I'm going to miss him going to the prom. I'm going to miss him going to graduation, college, you know all that stuff it got stopped because of ignorance," Bobby McKeithen said, the father of 16-year-old Bobby. "I mean, it ant going to bring him back, don't get me wrong, I have remorse for the family that, you know, the shooting was done by because they about to lose a child as well in the system."
Bobby McKeithen was shot Monday, October 29 inside the halls of Butler High School just as school was starting. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Bobby's mother, Ashley Mewborn, described the frantic moments following the shooting at the school.
"A friend of ours called and said he heard Bobby got shot. So I started calling the school, no answer. I called them [the school] all the way there. Then I started calling 911 to see if they had gotten a call about Bobby being shot. They told me no. Then the phone hung up so I had to call back and then the other operator told me no and then they connected me to Matthews Police. They said they had gotten a call but they couldn't tell me anything, " Mewborn said. "In that time me driving to school because I couldn't find out anything I could have been to the hospital with him because that's where he was. So I get to the school and I can't get into the school because everything is blocked off and I'm having to hear things from other children. I couldn't get any information. I could have seen him. I feel like I could have seen him. At least one last time."
A fellow classmate, Jatwan Cuffie, has been charged with first-degree murder in McKeithen's death.
"I'm not here to say that kids don't make mistakes because we all do, as humans. But at the end of the day, you know, it's bigger than the situation. It's about becoming a community, to stop getting these guns out here on the street, allowing innocent people to be hurt in a situation like that," Bobby's father said.
The family addressed the fact that a gun was able to get inside Butler High School undetected, saying it shouldn't have ever happened.
"I just feel like with the amount of students, and I know that we have a shortage of police officers in the community, and I understand that, but I mean we have all this North Carolina lottery money...like why haven't we had metal detectors in the school? I mean, there's only so much these officers can do," Bobby's father said. "We have to get to the point where as a community, as a state, as a nation, what do we do to address this gun problem and save our children?"
The family also stressed how important it is to talk to your children.
"I just feel like whatever I can say today, it can help. Some other kids, some parent may be a little stronger to ask their kid what's going on. That's all I can do," Bobby's father said. "Parents take time to speak to your kids. School teachers, if you feel a problem going on pull that kid to the side. That's what we're here for."
Many of Bobby's family attended Tuesday's news conference including siblings and cousins. They wanted to make it clear, that to them, Bobby wasn't a bully.
"You know, you send your kids off to school, you never imagine that that's their last moment," Bobby's father said. "Everybody was always so attached to him because he was laid back, he was cool. He was easy to get along with. So when you hear stuff like this, that come out, it kind of disturbs you a little bit."
The family of Bobby McKeithen released this statement on Tuesday:
"The family of Bobby McKeithen wishes to thank the Charlotte community for your prayers. As parents we never expected that we would send our son to school and he would not return home.
The impact this tragedy will have on the lives of our family, friends and the community is immeasurable. But we are faithful and we believe God will see us all through. This pain we are experiencing today is a pain that no mother, no father, no sister, no brother should ever have to experience.
In spite of the stories and the rumors that have been told, we want everyone to know that the stories and rumors that you have heard about Bobby being a bully are not true.
Countless friends and teachers have spoken out and said that that has not, nor has he ever been known, as a bully. Bobby was truly a light in our lives.
He was a loving brother to his siblings. A child whose smile would make anyone smile.
He is already greatly missed by family and friends. Our days and our nights are less bright because he is gone. Although there are so many questions, so many unanswered questions, we ask that you respect the privacy of our family during this time."
Details on funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.