CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A small remembrance ceremony took place Tuesday to remember a Charleston teenager who was shot last year, as well as debut of a podcast episode regarding the shooting and its effects.
James Means, 15, died on Nov. 21, 2016, after he was shot on the city’s East End outside of the Dollar General on Washington Street East, allegedly by 62-year-old William Pulliam. Pulliam previously claimed he was acting in self-defense, but allegedly told police after the shooting “another piece of trash is off the street.”
Deanna McKinney, the CEO of the God is For Togetherness Project, said Means’ death was devastating the community.
“We want to make sure that we don’t forget, but we want to make sure that we remind people to be careful and be mindful of the youth that’s walking around and the people we meet every day,” she said.
McKinney said she did not know Means personally, but has bonded with his family since his death. She added she can relate to the family, having lost her son, Tymel, in a 2014 shooting.
“You want to be there for a family going through something like that because only you will understand what they could be going into at that time,” she said. “I just wanted to be that person of support to help them and let them know that I’ve been there and I can help them through this.”
Means’ death is the subject of a new episode of the “Us & Them” podcast, in which host Trey Kay looks to understand both Means and Pulliam as well as the impact of shootings like this in small communities. McKinney took part in the episode, which was played as part of the memorial service.
“Trey just wanted to get people to understand exactly who James was before this incident because everybody knows of James Means because of his death, but he wanted people to know who James Means was before his death,” she said.
Pulliam’s trial will begin Jan. 29 after being rescheduled by Kanawha County Circuit Judge Charles King in October. Pulliam was charged with first-degree murder and felony use of a firearm.