16-year-old Bobby McKeithen's "stupid" mind has brightened up the corridors at Butler High School, his classmates say. He loved to dance and was a bit of a class clown, but his friends also say he was thinking about college and his future.
McKeithen went to school Monday morning as he should, his mother Ashley Mewborn said Tuesday
Around the time the lesson began, McKeithen was shot dead in a school corridor. He died in hospital and another 16-year-old Butler student, Jatwan Craig Cuffie, was charged with murder.
"I'm not sure about the school system," Mewborn said. "I'm worried about my other kids now."
Mewborn told reporters that McKeithen was a devoted brother with "the biggest heart." In a statement, his family denies the idea that he was a bully.
Charlotte Mecklenburg-based Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said on Monday that the shooting may be related to bullying. Matthews police chief Stason Tyrrell refused to say who had mobbed in a press conference on Monday.
Since McKeithen died, his family and friends have insisted he is not a bully.
If the school knew there was a school police involved in a conflict between two students, said McKeithens father, who is also called Bobby McKeithen.
Mewborn said she wanted CMS officials to "do whatever they need to do" to protect the students.
"A child could not have run in with a gun and be able to shoot my baby in his – just shoot him in his side and kill him," she said. "That should never happen."
Hundreds of people gathered on Monday night to Butler's flagpole for a picket in McKeithens honor. They carried candles, released dozens of blue-and-white balloons, and laid flowers near a sign saying "Long Live Bobby." This slogan and the abbreviated hashtag #LLB have been popular since filming on social media.
McKeithens friends told the Observer that he was relaxed and silly.
"He was … he was like a class clown," said Junior Anna O'Connell. "He was really, how, silly, and he had relationships with his teachers … It was not like he was disrespectful.
Sophomore Jourdan Perry said when he told McKeithen he was thinking about not going to university McKeithen talked about his own plans.
"I know he definitely wanted to go to college," Hill said, "He told me he was going to college."
McKeithen played basketball, his friends said even though he was not in the Butler team, he danced in the school hall to music with his headphones, as Aaliyah Griffin said in the second year.
"He has heard a lot about Lil Uzi, and then he and his brother have that dance Griffin said, "They just looked the same when they did … it was just so cute."
McKeithen was very close to his siblings, especially his 2-year-old sister, to his mother and friends. His older brother and several classmates said n, he is a good friend.
"He was a really good person," said Sophiane Tiana Scrofani. "Even if you stopped talking to him for a while, he was still there and always came back to you to make sure you were okay."
"And it was just that he never gave up on your friendship with him, whether it was hard or not, that was always good for him, that he never left you."
Jane Wester: 704-358-5128, @anewester