A white man who allegedly shot dead a 15-year-old black teenager in West Virginia told investigators: "The way I see it, that’s another piece of trash off the street."
About 75 friends and family of slain teenager James Means held a candlelit vigil in the city’s east end, near the location where he was shot after exchanging words with William Pulliam.
"James was a good friend to me. He always came up with ideas of what to do and how to make it fun," 13-year-old James Cooper, one of Means’ friends who witnessed the shooting, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
Pulliam allegedly physically bumped into the teenager, who was with friends, and then went into a convenience store.
When the 62-year-old came out, the exchange continued. He told police that the teenager approached him and he shot him twice in the abdomen with a .380 caliber revolver, for "self-defense".
James died shortly after in hospital.
The teenager had been a member of a local nonprofit called Dreams Community Development, where youths attended weekly meetings to learn about communication and career development.
"This past Sunday, we really had a breakthrough, and James wanted to be a part of this," nonprofit director Obi Henderson told the newspaper.
"James’ name is not something that should be forgotten– his life was stolen from him."
Pullman is being held in jail and has been charged with first-degree murder. He was not allowed to have gun to due a previous domestic violence conviction.
He reportedly seemed startled that he would not have the chance to be released on bail before December, and he complained that he would lose his job and have to go on a hunger strike.
Police said the plaintiff showed no remorse after his arrest and made the comment about James being "trash".
After the shooting, he went to dinner and visited a female friend’s house, according to the police complaint.
Charleston police have asked federal authorities to determine if the shooting was a hate crime.
In 2013, Pulliam struck his pregnant daughter in the face and kicked her in the stomach. He also struck his wife. One count of domestic battery was dropped, and he pleaded no contest to the other.
He was sentenced to 36 days in jail. His jail sentence was suspended, and instead he was put on one year's probation and given credit for six days he had already spent in jail.Reuse content