William Pulliam: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

William Pulliam Charleston Police Department

William Pulliam’s mugshot. (Charleston Police Department)

The shooting death by a white man of a black teenager who bumped into him in Charleston, West Virginia is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

William Pulliam, 62, shot and killed James Means, 15, on November 21 after they “exchanged words” after bumping into each other, said ABC News.

After shooting Means, Pulliam allegedly commented, “The way I look at it, that’s another piece of trash off the street,” the criminal complaint alleges. Pulliam denies making the comment and says he shot Means because he felt threatened.

Pulliam was charged with first-degree murder.

Some have drawn similarities between the case and that of Trayvon Martin.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Pulliam Went to Dinner After the Shooting & Allegedly Expressed No Remorse

james means

James Means. (GoFundMe)

The shooting occurred after Pulliam and Means bumped into each other outside a Dollar General store.

Pulliam came out of the store, and walked past Means and other youths, who were sitting on a porch, according to The Huffington Post. The news site said the shooting was witnessed by a man named Clayton Ferguson, who was with Means, and said Means and Pulliam started arguing again.

“James walked across the street to confront him, Pulliam drew a gun and shot the teen twice,” said The Huffington Post, quoting the criminal complaint. Pulliam then went to a friend’s house to eat dinner, and expressed no remorse for the shooting, the news site said.

Means’ family said the teen, a freshman at an area high school, enjoyed cars and mechanics and wanted to own a business someday. He was learning career development skills at a local non-profit, said the Charleston Gazette Mail.

2. A Domestic Violence Conviction Barred Pulliam From Possessing a Gun

James Means William Pulliam

(Screengrab via WSAZ)

The West Virginia Gazette Mail reported that Pulliam has a previous domestic violence conviction, so it’s illegal for him to even possess a gun.

Pulliam was accused of striking “his pregnant daughter in the face several times with a closed fist and kicked her in the stomach. He also shoved his wife to the ground during that incident,” the criminal complaint said, according to the newspaper.

He shot Means twice in the stomach with a .380 caliber revolver, the newspaper said.

3. Pulliam Claims Means Flashed a Gun at Him but Police Say the Teen Was Unarmed


Pulliam granted a jailhouse interview to WCHS-TV, in which he claimed Means had flashed a gun at him after the two exchanged words.

“I don’t like it. I mean believe me, I did not want to kill anybody, but they’re not going to kill me,” Pulliam told the television station.

WCHS-TV said Pulliam claims “Means saw him, came across the street and started taunting him with the gun.” Pulliam denied the shooting had anything to do with race.

However, police say that Means was not armed.

Police Department Chief of Detectives Lt. Steve Cooper told West Virginia Metro News: “The victim wasn’t armed–there was no physical altercation–there was an argument. Words were exchanged. Mr. Pulliam drew a .380 revolver and shot the victim twice and killed him.”

4. Pulliam Is Accused of Making Previous Racial Comments


Teonno White, 14, a friend of Means, told the West Virginia Gazette Mail that Pulliam picked on his younger brother, and he once confronted the man.

“He said, ‘Get the [expletive] off my property.’ He said I need to go on with my nappy Latino self. He’s just a real bad guy,” White told the newspaper.

5. The Case Is Being Investigated as a Possible Hate Crime

The Associated Press reported that federal authorities are in the early stages of reviewing whether the shooting falls within the federal hate crimes statute for killing someone because of their race or color.”

Nafia Adkins, Means’ mother, encouraged people to set aside grudges and let authorities complete the investigation, said The AP.

A GoFundMe site set up to help the Means’ family with funeral expenses had raised more than $35,000 as of November 23.


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Why would you need two stories of the same incident ?
Something is not right.
The only reason I can think of is to make sure that the racist comments are Amplified to the public.


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So why did the boy cross the street to continue the altercation? Had he not done so this wouldn’t have happened. But I guess he bears no responsibility though, right?


Seriously? You think that dumb things 15 year olds do are now capital crimes? I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t lived to 16 if crossing the road meant people could shot me with their illegally owned firearms.


Why, in this country does dead victim have to defend himself? Did you not read where this man couldn’t legally own a gun? Yet he had one. Perhaps, just perhaps if this jerk followed the law and wasn’t carrying an illegal gun, this you man would still be alive.


Perhaps Means would still be alive, yes, but perhaps Pulliam would be dead, or trying to recover from a beating. None of us were there, so we don’t know.

ralph kramden (@fatralphkramden)

AS a retired police officer, I can tell you with absolute certainty that beating people half to death is part of the “dumb” things 15 year olds “say”, especially to elderly people. You are correct that Mr. Pulliam should not have had a firearm. This young man though? He was going to do more than say “dumb” things.- OF that I have little doubt. The world is not as yes/no or right/wrong as you would have fools believe. If the teenager went to taunt or provoke a reaction, well he sure did get one. You might also want to take into account that being charged is NOT the same as being convicted.


As a retired police officer, what do you think happens when you shoot someone in the chest on video and then in the back after they get up and start running away on the same video? How about when the shooter is heard on video talking about “TOY GUN” with knowledge that a TOY is a TOY before he shot and killed someone? Even if you want to argue that he was somehow defending himself with shot 1, that doesn’t mean a follow-up killshot to the back is then allowed, mr fife.

Put a fork in him, he’s done. This guy is Michael Dunn 2.0. May he rot in prison.


Oh, also, after reading up on this, the old man was the one that addressed the teen, who was sitting in front of a house.

Here’s an idea, how about the ADULT just let stuff go from the onset and the teen wouldn’t be dead? Ever consider that, Colombo? The old man deserves prison here.


“I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t lived to 16 if crossing the road meant people could shot me with their illegally owned firearms.” If had an argument with some then go and confront them brandishing what looks like a real gun… I’m not saying you would deserve to be shot but they would be justified in shooting you no matter what you’re age.


Maybe Pulliam is not such a great guy, but possibly the colored boy knew that, and thought he’d mess with him!

Mollie Brown

Wow…stuck in the 19th century? You put all the blame on a child, when a man with this history does the deed? Police say the kid was unarmed…get over it dude, Pulliam is a bad man, and nothing he says is reliable. Kid started nothing! Just ran into a sociopath. Poor kid. I am an old white woman, raised with the term “colored”. I saw water fountains in Houston, when I was a child, marked white and colored. I did not understand it then, and it seems like an abomination to me now. Go back to your century.

ralph kramden (@fatralphkramden)

And YOU are stuck in your own, silly ,vapid little head. A person does NOT have to be armed to present a threat to your life. Plenty of women are beaten to death every day as are elderly victims by assailants with no weapons but their fists, yet they are just as dead as if they had been shot or stabbed. The boy went to confront this guy and I doubt it was to “discuss” anything. Pulliam should not have had a firearm and he has been charged with murder. Now we will see if he is released on bail or convicted.


You’re missing that this man shot the boy in his chest and then shot him in his back when he got up and tried to run away with the whole thing caught on video including audio. You can kinda stuff your argument about the boy confronting him because the man’s really guilty of first degree murder once he shot and killed the boy as he was running away with video and audio evidence.

Sudan Salaam

White women always wanted a talk, dark & handsome man. (Blackman) they want black chidren with curley Afros. They lay in tanning beds or the sun until they get skin cancer trying to be black. Mental Illness. ex. Crazy Rachel NAACP 2016.

Mollie Brown

Yikes….I hope you and that sociopath Pulliam never meet…well maybe you should…the two of you could do a number on each other!


My, my, this is CERTAINLY the most unbiased article I have ever read. When one reports the news—-one shouldn’t slant it to meet a specific narrative. Interesting how no one is remarking about the man/boys on the stoop. Young assholes (and older) have much greater false courage in numbers. I doubt that the shooter was a choir boy—-but I am equally confident that the dead boy wasn’t either—-and that if he hadn’t decided to “mess” with the old man he would still be here today. Leave people alone. Stay safe that way.


people argue with each other all the time in the real world. This man shot the boy in his back as he tried to run away and it was caught on video. How about we lay the responsibility to bea responsible adult at the feet of the grown man and not the dead teen.


Getting them organs. At least he will get 2 months probation for first degree murder of a black boy.

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