Former classmates, family of Whitwell High arson suspect say he was bullied

Friends and family of Whitwell High School arson suspect Robert Cameron Dalton say he was bullied while he was a student there. (Images: Marion Co. Sheriff's Office, WTVC)

When Cameron Dalton was arrested Monday, those who went to school with him before he left remembered him with one word: quiet.

"Really quiet, to himself," student Jaymeson Carter said.

"Never said a whole lot, just kept to himself and quiet," senior Madison Dykes said.

Investigators say they identified 18-year-old Cameron Dalton in the surveillance video from inside the school wearing a hoodie, entering the high school building, and pouring gas in the hallways.

Monday, NewsChannel 9's Brittany Martin talked with Dalton's mother who said Dalton was bullied before he left Whitwell High to be home-schooled.

She describes him as a hard worker and loving son and brother.

His former classmates echoed that Dalton was targeted by bullies.

"The one who was arrested was bullied or, so to speak, while he was at school and that's why he left school," Dykes said.

The fire began just hours after the Whitwell High Tigers were crowned state champions.

When we asked investigators about a motive Detective Matt Blansett said:

"There's a bigger story to this, this event. Eventually it will be brought to light. We just can't elaborate at this time."

Student Madison Dykes says she knows bullying can happen at her school, but never thought it would become the scene of a crime.

"I kind of do sympathize, but I know that's not the right way to go about it," Dykes said.

Marion County Schools Superintendent Mark Griffith said they are looking into the allegations that Dalton was bullied.

Dalton was charged with arson and burglary.

He has no criminal history.

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