CHARLESTON, West Virginia — A 62-year-old white West Virginia man showed no remorse for fatally shooting a black teenager after they bumped into each other on the street, calling him just “another piece of trash,”cops said.
Charleston police say William Pulliam confessed to shooting 15-year-old James Means on Nov. 21 after exchanging words outside a Dollar General store.
“The way I look at it, that’s another piece of trash off the street,” Pulliam was quoted as saying in a criminal complaint signed by Det. C.C. Lioi.
Police say Pulliam left the scene after the shooting and went to have dinner and then visit a friend. A revolver was found at the friend’s house.
Pulliam has been arraigned on a state murder charge and federal authorities are reviewing whether the shooting qualifies as a hate crime.
In the criminal complaint, witnesses told cops that Means and Pulliam bumped into each other in front of the store and exchanged words. Pulliam then went inside but when he later came back out and passed a nearby porch where Means and some friends were sitting, the argument flared up again.
Means then crossed the street to confront Pulliam, who pulled out a .380 caliber revolver and shot the teen twice.
Pulliam told WCHS-TV in a jailhouse interview that he felt threatened by Means and his friends. He said he only shot in self-defense and that race had nothing to do with it and denied giving the statement attributed to him by investigators.
Others in the neighborhood told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that Pulliam had sparred with minority teens in the area before and had used racial epithets.
That paper reported that Pulliam was not legally allowed to carry a gun after pleading no contest to a charge of domestic battery in 2013. In that case, he was charged with hitting his pregnant daughter in the face several times with a closed fist and kicking her in the stomach. He also shoved his wife to the ground during that incident, according to the paper.