Teen accused of gunning down his classmate over bullying made his first appearance in court
The public defender reveals how self-defense could become a viable defense during Caffie's first court appearance.
Video footage of the incident shows one student approaching another, drop his backpack and quickly move towards him landing a punch, the boy being attacked is seen trying to get away while defending himself.
The boy trying to defend himself then pulls out a gun and shoots his attacker with a fatal shot to the abdomen.
Jatwan Craig Cuffie, 16-year-old ninth grader got charged as an adult with first-degree murder for fatally shooting his attacker in the crowded hallway of Butler High School just after 7 am on October 29, 2018.
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The 16-year-old Cuffie got involved in a fight the Friday night where his attacker was present, although he did not participate in the fight. Cuffie got taken to Mecklenburg jail to await his first court appearance in the morning.
Bobby McKeithen, a 10th grader at the same school got treated on the scene after the shooting but died soon after arriving at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. The fight was said to have broken out over a case of bullying that got out of control.
A fellow Butler sophomore and close friend of McKeithen, Jourdan Perry, described him as ‘caring and loving,’ and said:
”If someone bullied Cuffie, she said, it wasn’t McKeithen. I felt like he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and this wasn’t supposed to happen to him.”
An affidavit by Cuffie detailing a part of his statement conveys his version of events. Cuffie told the police about the fight the Friday night in which McKeithen was present but not involved and said that at one point another male subject pulled out a knife. At this point, he and his friend ran away.
Later on, an argument broke out about who had won the fight on Friday night. They wanted another fight but Cuffie told police he was not interested, however; he continued to receive texts that others wanted to fight him on Monday at school.
On Monday morning before class Cuffie went to the woods to retrieve a gun for protection. Cuffie told police that even though he did not fight McKeithen over the weekend he walked straight up to him in the hallway and punched him in the face. It is then when he pulled the gun from his pocket and fired the shot at McKeithen.
Police had not revealed the caliber of the weapon, only that the gun got stolen from a vehicle, and are still working on determining how Caffie came into possession of the weapon. Rick Winiker, a defense attorney read his affidavit carefully, and according to Winiker having had a gun in the first place can be a problem for his defense
CAFFIE’S COURT APPEARANCE
The hearing on Tuesday lasted a mere 10 minutes, public defender, Joel Adelman started of by telling the judge Cuffie had no prior convictions, misdemeanors or felonies. Adelman added:
“I think it’s already out there that there were threats to him and that there was an issue of bullying.”
The public defender then asked judge Strickland to set Cuffie’s bond at $10,000 and place him in his mother’s custody while also being placed under electric monitoring and poses no threat to the community.
The judge denied his request and said the issue of the bond will be handled at his next hearing scheduled on November 7, 2018. Soon after Caffie’s first court appearance, his family left without speaking to reporters. Caffie also opted for no comments during the hearing.
RECENT SIMILAR CASES
On Tuesday, September 11, 2018, Canyon Springs High School in North Las Vegas erupted into chaos when a fatal shooting occurred on the edge of the school’s baseball field. The shooting happened around 2:40 pm, with less than 500 students still present at the school.
Authorities had not identified a suspect and interviewed about 50 students after the shooting. The school went into lockdown immediately after the shooting and gathered the students into the gymnasium while the rest of the school got searched, but no other wounded were found.
BREAKING. The NLVPD is investigating a shooting near canyon springs high school . Public stay away from area. Media can stage on east side of school.— NLVPD (@NLVPD) September 11, 2018
On October 17 another school shooting occurred at a Kerch polytechnic college in Russia. A student at the college, Vladislav Roslyakov, killed 19 people and wounded another 40 as he walked down the halls shooting at schoolmates and teachers.
Roslyakov then turned the gun on himself and died. According to acquaintances he had shared being angry at his teachers and wanted to ‘get revenge,’ although a clear motive has not been established.
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