62-year-old William Pulliam, a white man, has been accused of killing James Means, a black 15-year-old, after they bumped into each other and exchanged words.
According to federal officials, the act is being investigated as a hate crime.
A complaint signed by Charleston Police Detective C.C. Lioi says William Pulliam, confessed, showed no remorse and told police, “The way I look at it, that’s another piece of trash off the street.”
Lioi’s statement says Pulliam left the scene after the shooting to go have dinner and then visit a friend. A revolver was found at the friend’s house.
Police haven’t identified the victim, but his mother, Nafia Adkins, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail it was her son, James Means.
Pulliam was arraigned on a murder charge and jailed Tuesday, court officials said. He has requested a court-appointed lawyer.
According to city police, the teen was shot Monday evening at an intersection and taken by ambulance to a Charleston hospital, where he was pronounced dead from two gunshot wounds.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby said authorities are in the early stages of reviewing whether the shooting falls within the federal hate crimes statute for killing someone because of their race or color.
Nafia Adkins told the newspaper that people in the community shouldn’t hold grudges and leave the investigation of her son’s death to authorities.
“We know that justice is going to succeed in this matter,” she said.
In the criminal complaint, witnesses told Lioi that the teen and Pulliam bumped into each other in front of the store, where they exchanged words. Pulliam went inside and Means sat down on a nearby porch with friends. When Pulliam later walked past them, the verbal exchange resumed and the teen crossed the street to confront the man and was shot.
Pulliam told WCHS-TV in an interview at the jail that he felt threatened by the teenager and his friends, that he shot in self-defense and that race had nothing to do with it. He denied giving the statement that investigators attributed to him.
Watch to see what William has to say for himself below.