Sandy Hook Promise Statement on Butler HS Shooting Tragedy in Matthews, NC


 Sandy Hook Promise Statement on Butler HS Shooting Tragedy in Matthews, NC


Newtown, CT – “Yesterday, we witnessed once again another tragic loss of a life gone too soon because of gun violence in school.  Our hearts are with the family and friends of 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen, the Matthews, NC community, and Butler High School.  I am grieving for those parents and my own heartbreak was revisited when I heard the statement from the McKeithen family ‘As parents, we never expect to send our children to school and they not return home. The pain that we are experiencing is a pain that no mother or no father should ever have to experience.’  I know this pain all too well and each time another parent joins this unwanted group of losing a child to gun violence, my heart breaks further.


We cannot allow more tragedies like this to occur in our country.  No youth should ever feel that gun violence is the answer to their problems.  The work of prevention is hard, but it is so critical to solve the violence epidemic in this country.  We all must play a part and never stop supporting and training youth and adults to know the signs of violence and say something before it escalates to tragedy. 


I read that one student at the school said that she knew a shooting would occur at the school, and that is wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ but a matter of ‘when’ and that other students knew there would be an altercation at the school that morning.  There are also reports that this was a result of a bullying situation that escalated out of control.  All these things are signs - we must empower youth to identify these signs and to speak out and say something BEFORE a tragedy occurs.  We can’t ignore these signs, because the price we pay is too great. 


I want to call on all parents to do everything you can to prevent gun violence so that you and other families you know will never have to experience the horrific loss of a child.”


Quote from Nicole Hockley, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.


Below is a list of signs for students, educators, and parents to be aware of. While one warning sign on its own may not mean a person is planning an act of violence, if multiple warning signs are witnessed, it should be taken seriously.

  • A strong fascination or obsession with firearms and/or an excessive study of firearms and mass shootings.
  • Exhibiting excessive over-reactions or aggressive behavior for a seemingly minor reason can signal that someone cannot self-regulate their emotions or control their anger.
  • Gestures of violence and low commitment or aspirations toward school, or a sudden shift in academic performance.
  • Perpetrators of self-harm or violence towards others may be victims of long-term bullying and may have real or perceived feelings of being picked on or persecuted by others.
  • Extreme feelings of isolation or social withdrawal due to real or perceived actions of others can lead to further withdrawal from society.
  • Unsupervised, illegal and/or easy access to firearms, or bragging about access to firearms, can also be a warning sign.
  • Making overt threats of violence (spoken, written, pictures, videos, gestures) are signs that should not be ignored.


About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.  SHP’s mission is to prevent gun violence and other forms of violence and victimization BEFORE they happen by creating a culture of engaged youth and adults committed to identifying, intervening, and getting help for individuals who might be at risk of hurting themselves or others.  SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible program and policy solutions that address the “human-side” of gun violence by preventing individuals from ever getting to the point of picking up a firearm to hurt themselves or others. Our words, actions and impact nationwide are intended to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation.


For more information, visit or call 203-304-9780.


Media Contact:

Dini von Mueffing Communications

Stephanie Morris | 646-650-5005