CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Quiet returned to Charlotte streets Wednesday after a police-involved shooting of an African-American man ignited a night of anger and violence that saw windows smashed, stores looted, trucks set ablaze and 16 police officers wounded in the melee.
The violence erupted hours after the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott, 43, who police say was armed and ignored several commands to drop his weapon.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney, at a news conference Wednesday, rejected claims that Scott was holding a book, not a gun, and said the gun had been recovered by detectives. No book was found, Putney said.
Putney said police dashcams did record parts of the confrontation and that the videos were being reviewed. The African-American officer who shot Scott was not wearing a body camera, Putney said.
"It's a tragic event, and my heart goes out to the Scott family for their loss," Putney said.
Putney said officers were searching for a suspect with an outstanding warrant Tuesday afternoon at The Village at College Downs when they observed an man — not the suspect they were looking for — inside a vehicle at the apartment complex.
Putney said the man, Scott, exited the vehicle with the gun as the officers yelled at him to drop it. Scott ignored the command, and was shot by a plain-clothes officer, Putney said.
Hours later, protests began. Police used tear gas and flash bangs to disperse demonstrators joined by "agitators" who set fires and shut down part of Interstate 85, Putney said.
Mayor Jennifer Roberts appealed for calm.
"I am asking out community, asking the people here to please wait until all the information is available," Roberts said. "We have along history of transparency and accountability, which we remain committed to."
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