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Man who killed 15-year-old wasn't legally allowed to possess gun

William Pulliam talks with Eyewitness News from the South Central Regional Jail on Tuesday.

The man who shot and killed a 15-year-old on Charleston's East End Monday night was not legally allowed to possess a gun because of a previous domestic violence conviction.

William Pulliam, 62, is now charged with first degree murder for the shooting death of James Means, 15.

Pulliam was convicted of domestic battery in 2013, which made it illegal for him to possess, own or buy a gun. Now, he's defending his actions and claiming self defense in the shooting death as the investigation has reached a federal level.

"If they charge me with a hate crime, they can but they gotta prove that I hate black people and I don't," Pulliam said in an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News from the South Central Regional Jail on Tuesday.

Pulliam says race had nothing to do with why he shot Means.

"I did say this, now I'll admit this, I said 'what is wrong with black people today?' I'm not trying to be Donald Trump or anything but anybody here will have to say that there's something going wrong here in the world now with black and white," Pulliam said

Pulliams claims Means and his friends were taunting him and also claims Means had a gun when he came across the street to confront him after the two had bumped into each other near the Dollar General.

"'Hey, bust a cap, bust a cap man.'" he says his friends were telling Means. "And here he comes, dancing across the street like he's looking at me. Just like, I'm looking at his eyes because I'm thinking 'man, this guy, when is he going to pull the trigger?' Is he going to shoot me in the leg, in the head, what the hell, you know?" Means said.

Police have not said whether Means was armed but Pulliam was not supposed to have a gun following a domestic battery conviction in 2013.

Charleston police say he punched his daughter in the face and kicked her in the stomach while she was pregnant. During the same incident, police say he shoved his wife, causing her to bleed from her arm.

One of the domestic battery charges was dropped but he pleaded no contest to the other which landed him a year on probation. Under federal law, no one with a domestic battery conviction can have a gun.

"Anybody who thinks I went and gunned that kid down, now, I mean, take me straight to the electric chair right now and I'll sit in it if I did that but that's not the way it went, man," Pulliam said.

Police found the revolver they say Pulliam used to kill Means at his friend's house where he went to eat dinner after the shooting. They have not said where the gun came from.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby confirmed that federal authorities have been asked to review whether the shooting falls within the federal hate crimes statute.

"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. The hate crimes statute "establishes a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for willfully using a firearm to kill another person because of the victim's actual or perceived race, color, religion or national origin."

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