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West Virginia Man William Pulliam Charged in Killing of 15-Year-Old James Means

A 62-year-old West Virginia man is facing murder charges in the shooting death of a teen boy in an alleged confrontation on the street.
Image: James Means
James Means.Facebook
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A 62-year-old West Virginia man is facing murder charges in the shooting death of a teen boy in an alleged confrontation on the street.

William Pulliam confessed to shooting James Means, 15, with a .380 caliber revolver in the capital city of Charleston on Monday, saying he felt threatened by the boy, according to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court. "Mr. Pulliam expressed no remorse," the complaint, written by a Charleston police detective, said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby said federal authorities have been asked to determine if the shooting can be prosecuted as a hate crime. Pulliam is white, and Means was black.

"The way I look at it, that's another piece of trash off the street," the police detective quoted Pulliam as saying.

"That review is in its early stages, and the fact that a review is being conducted should not be taken as any indication of what the review's outcome will be," Ruby said.

Pulliam told investigators he ate dinner then went to a friend's house after the shooting, according to the complaint.

The attack unfolded around 8:46 p.m. ET Monday, according to the complaint. Two friends who were with Means said they got into an argument with Pulliam after the older man allegedly bumped into Means in front of a Dollar General store. Pulliam went into the store, they said, and after he re-emerged, walked past them on the street.

The boys, standing in front of a house, argued with Pulliam again, the friends told investigators. One of the friends said Means then crossed the street to confront Pulliam. Pulliam then shot Means twice, the friend said.

Means was pronounced dead at CMAC General Hospital, the complaint said.

Pulliam remains jailed without bond because he has yet to appear before a judge, a jail officer said.

A local ABC station interviewed Pulliam behind bars, and quoted him as saying Means and his friends had threatened him with a gun before he entered the Dollar General store. On the way back, Pulliam told the station, he walked on the other side of the street. He said he did not know why the boys confronted him.

Pulliam denied calling Means "trash" to police, the station reported. And Pulliam told the station that that race had nothing to do with his decision to shoot.

"It doesn't make any difference if he's black," Pulliam said. "My God, everybody I live around over there is black. I get along with all of them, ask them.”

Means' relatives, friends and Capital High School classmates gathered at the shooting scene Wednesday to remember him, local NBC affiliate WSAZ reported.

"This was unexpected because he was a really good person," a friend, Haley Braxton, told the station. "He wasn't a fighter. He didn't mess with anybody. He always made everybody so happy."

Means participated in a program called Dream Chasers, which helps "at-risk" children develop career goals, founder Obi Henderson told WSAZ. "James wanted to be a businessman and open up a mechanic shop," he said.

Means' mother, Nafia Adkins, told the station: "My son is in a safer place now, and we all love him."