"That's another piece of trash off the street."

Those were the words of 62-year-old white man William Pulliam after he shot dead a 15-year-old black boy on a street in Charleston, West Virgina, US, according to police.

Pulliam allegedly shot James Means twice in the abdomen with a .380-calibre revolver.

A complaint signed by Charleston Police Detective C.C. Lioi says William Pulliam, confessed, showed no remorse and told police, "The way I look at it, that's another piece of trash off the street."

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Lioi says Pulliam left the scene after the shooting to have dinner and then visit a female friend.

Police found the revolver allegedly used to kill Means at the friend's house.

The case is under review as a possible federal hate crime, according to a federal official.

Police haven't identified the victim, but his mother, Nafia Adkins, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail it was her son, James Means.

James Means accidentally bumped into the man who later shot him. Photo / Facebook
James Means accidentally bumped into the man who later shot him. Photo / Facebook

The

Charleston Gazette-Mail

reported that Means was unarmed.

Pulliam reportedly shot Means after the pair bumped into each other and exchanged words.

Pulliam told WCHS-TV in an interview at the jail that he felt threatened by the teenager and his friends, that he shot in self-defence and that race had nothing to do with it.

He denied giving the statement that investigators attributed to him.

Pulliam was arraigned on a murder charge and jailed Tuesday, court officials said.

He has requested a court-appointed lawyer.

Pulliam pleaded no contest in 2013 to a charge of domestic battery, which bars him from legally possessing a gun.

According to city police, the teen was shot Monday evening and taken by ambulance to a Charleston hospital, where he was pronounced dead from two gunshot wounds.

Assistant US Attorney Steve Ruby said 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 colour.

William Pulliam was not legally supposed to have a gun. Photo / Charleston Police Department
William Pulliam was not legally supposed to have a gun. Photo / Charleston Police Department

Adkins told the newspaper that people in the community shouldn't hold grudges and leave the investigation of her son's death to authorities.

"We know that justice is going to succeed," she said.

In the criminal complaint, witnesses told Lioi that the teen and Pulliam bumped into each other in front of the store, where they exchanged words.

Pulliam went inside and Means sat down on a nearby porch with friends.

James Means was unarmed when he was shot dead. Photo / Facebook
James Means was unarmed when he was shot dead. Photo / Facebook

When Pulliam later walked past them, the verbal exchange resumed and the teen crossed the street to confront the man and was shot.