62-year-old William Pulliam, 62, fatally shot a black teen outside of a Charleston, WV Dollar General store. He then went home to have dinner before driving off for a visit with a friend
William Pulliam, 62, who is white, fatally shot 15-year-old James Means, outside of a Dollar General store in East Charleston, Monday after the two had bumped into each other, authorities claim.
Now federal authorities are investigating the shooting death of the black teen in West Virginia as a possible hate crime.
The confessed shooter claims he feared for his life, and that race had no bearing on the deadly shooting. Monday night, The two exchanged words outside the Dollar store before Pulliam entered the store while Means sat on a nearby porch with friends. When Pulliam emerged from the store, the two resumed the verbal sparring.
William Pulliam, in his jailhouse interview said he feared for his life
James means. Was he armed during the encounter as claimed by his killer?
After the second exchange words, Pulliam allegedly shot the James Means twice in the abdomen and left leaving him to die. The shooter then proceeded to go home, eat dinner, then go visit with a friend, according to a criminal complaint.
Pulliam in a jailhouse interview claimed Means crossed the street to confront him, flashing a gun, fearing for his own safety, he fatally shot the teen. Authorities have not announced whether Means was armed.
“I just shot him,” Pulliam said in an exclusive jailhouse interview with WCHS and WVAH TV. “I felt like my life was in danger.”
He said that he felt like he had no other choice.
Pulliam has been charged with first-degree murder.
“I don’t like it. I mean, believe me, I did not want to kill anybody, but they’re not going to kill me,” he said.
Following the shooting, Pulliam left the area to have dinner then visited a friend, according to a criminal complaint. A revolver was found at the friend’s house.
Pulliam allegedly told officers, “The way I look at it, I took another piece of trash off the street.”
East Charleston police at the scene of the shooting, Monday night
Pulliam said in the jailhouse interview recanted the alleged comment. He claimed that the shooting had nothing to do with race: “I don’t care if they’re white or black,” he said. “Nobody is going to do me like that. It doesn’t make any difference if he’s black. My God, everybody I live around over here is black. I get along with all of them, ask them.”
Pulliam said in the interview.
“I work. I’m a good citizen. I don’t do anything to anybody, never have done anything to anybody,” he said.
Records show that at the time of the shooting, Pulliam who has a prior conviction for domestic battery, was not legally allowed to possess a firearm.
Classmates and family of James Mean at a candle light vigil on Wednesday. 15-year-old Mean was shot and killed Monday evening by William Pulliam
Nafia Adkins, mother of James Means holds a candle at the vigil for her son, Wednesday
Nafia Adkins, mother of the late teen called for non-violence and a measured approach in seeking justice for her son. Adkins told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that community members shouldn’t hold grudges, urging members of the public to leave the shooting investigation to authorities.
“We know that justice is going to succeed in this matter,” she said.
Friends, family and local residents reflected on Means’ life during a Wednesday church service and candlelight vigil. The late teen who dreamed of one day running his own business had recently gotten involved with a local career development organization, and friends said he dreamed of one day running his own business.