16-year-old accused of gunning down classmate after bullying 'escalated out of control' makes 1st court appearance

PHOTO: Emergency personnel respond to a shooting at Butler High School in Matthews, N.C., Oct. 29, 2018.PlayCassie Cope/The Charlotte Observer/AP
WATCH 16-year-old accused of gunning down classmate makes 1st court appearance

A 16-year-old boy accused of gunning down his classmate in their North Carolina high school made his first appearance in court Tuesday.

Ninth-grader Jatwan Cuffie, 16, allegedly shot and killed tenth-grader Bobby Mckeithen, 16, at Butler High School Monday morning after a bullying conflict "escalated out of control," officials said.

Cuffie was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder, officials said.

PHOTO: Ninth-grader Jatwan Cuffie, 16, was arrested after he allegedly shot and killed tenth-grader Bobby Mckeithen, 16, at Butler High School in North Carolina, Oct. 29, 2018. Matthews Police Department/AP
Ninth-grader Jatwan Cuffie, 16, was arrested after he allegedly shot and killed tenth-grader Bobby Mckeithen, 16, at Butler High School in North Carolina, Oct. 29, 2018.

In court Tuesday afternoon, Cuffie's attorney said the teen has no prior convictions, The Charlotte Observer reported. The lawyer asked for Cuffie to be allowed to stay with his mother with electronic monitoring, the newspaper said.

Cuffie did not speak during the brief appearance and is due to return to court for his bond hearing on Nov. 7, the newspaper reported.

PHOTO: Emergency personnel respond to a shooting at Butler High School in Matthews, N.C., Oct. 29, 2018. Cassie Cope/The Charlotte Observer/AP
Emergency personnel respond to a shooting at Butler High School in Matthews, N.C., Oct. 29, 2018.

The Monday shooting at the school in Matthews, about 12 miles outside of Charlotte, was "an isolated incident," according to the Matthews Police Department.

PHOTO: Parents walked to go pick up their kids outside Butler High School after the scene was considered safe in Matthews, N.C., Oct. 29, 2018. Joshua Komer/The Charlotte Observer/AP
Parents walked to go pick up their kids outside Butler High School after the scene was considered safe in Matthews, N.C., Oct. 29, 2018.

When the gunfire broke out, students understood what to do and barricaded themselves in classrooms, Clayton Wilcox superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, said at a news conference.

School resumed after a brief lockdown, but parents were told they could pick up their children if they wished. Emotional photos showed parents reuniting with students after the terrifying morning.

"Our hearts are with the family, loved ones, friends and everyone affected," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said in a statement. "Counseling is available to any student or staff member who wishes to speak to someone."

The school is closed Tuesday, officials said.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson said he was "heartbroken to hear that we have lost a student to school violence."

"We have contacted Charlotte-Mecklenburg authorities and will assist in any way we can, but of course our first thoughts are for the parents and other loved ones of the student who passed away," Johnson said. "The safety of our students is paramount. This is a sad day for all of North Carolina, and we must work together as a community to address these problems."

ABC News' Rachel Katz contributed to this report.

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