Witness photo shows gun at scene, sources confirm

WCNC Breaking News

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Police sources confirm to NBC Charlotte that a witness' photo taken moments after the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott shows a gun at his feet.

Police said they had been searching for someone who had an outstanding warrant at The Village at College Downs complex on Old Concord Road when they saw Keith Lamont Scott leave his car holding a gun.

CMPD said Scott got out, had a gun on him, and put the officers in imminent danger. Officer Brentley Vinson shot Scott. Both men were African-American, a police official said.

"Man was in his truck, reading a book waiting for his kid to come home," said a man on scene. "Cops shot him, for nothing."

Family members say Scott was disabled and wouldn't have it in his heart to hurt police officers.

Rakeyia Scott, wife of Keith Scott, released the following statement Wednesday:

"My family is devastated by the shooting death of my husband, Keith. Keith was a loving husband, father, brother and friend who will be deeply missed every day. As a family, we respect the rights of those who wish to protest, but we ask that people protest peacefully. 

Please do not hurt people or members of law enforcement, damage property or take things that do not belong to you in the name of protesting.

After listening to remarks made by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Putney today, we have more questions than answers about Keith's death.  Rest assured, we will work diligently to get answers to our questions as quickly as possible. 

In the near future, we will offer more information about Keith and our family.  

Until then, we ask that you please respect our family's privacy as we grieve and prepare to lay Keith to rest."

During a news conference Wednesday morning, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said Vinson was not wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting. 

"It's time to change the narrative, because I can tell you from the facts that the story is a little bit different as to how it has been portrayed so far, especially through social media," Putney said.

Putney said Scott exited his car with a gun, then got back in the car. Officers instructed him to drop the gun. As he got out again, officers fired shots. Putney also said officers seized a gun from the scene, but they did not find a book, which family members have referenced.

Officer Vinson was in plain clothes and was not wearing a body camera, according to Putney. The officers in uniform on the scene were wearing body cameras, but it does not give a full picture of what happened.

"I don't know that he (Keith Scott) definitively pointed a weapon at an officer" but he says Scott did have a gun. "The video that I have reviewed, I cannot see in totality, everything that occurred."

Wednesday afternoon The Village at College Downs complex where the shooting happened friends and neighbors say this is a case of he said she said at its absolute worst.

Police say yes, Scott did have a gun.  Family and friends say no he did not.  Police say Scott was an imminent threat to the officers.  Family and friends say the only threat was the color of his skin.

Flowers sit on the ground outside The Village at College Downs complex where Scott was shot and killed.  It's the same spot where neighbors say they would often find Scott sitting in a car in the shade reading a book as he waited for his son to get off the school bus.

That's what witnesses say he was doing Tuesday when he was confronted by police.  But police say Scott did have a gun, which was recovered from the scene. 

Police tell a different story of what happened.  Putney said Scott got out of the car with the gun, got back in and as officers approached him, he got out again.  Police say Scott was an imminent threat and they didn't find a book at the scene.

Community activists on Wednesday say there was nothing threatening about Scott.  They didn't exactly deny that he had a gun.  Instead they said even if he did, that alone should not have made him a target.

"So what.  My mother's got a gun. The truth of the matter is did he point that gun?  Did he intend to really sit in a vehicle, waiting on his son to get home from school, and then plot to shoot a cop if they pulled up on him? 

Witnesses at the apartment complex told NBC Charlotte they have video of the shooting, but they refused to release it to us saying they want to show it to the family first. 

The mood around the apartment complex Wednesday was relatively calm most of the day.  Neighbors are deeply concerned about all of the activity that happened and they said they lost a really good man.

Police cars continue to be parked outside the apartment complex and in uptown where more protests are planned.

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said 16 police officers were injured in clashes with people protesting the shooting overnight.

Around 3 a.m. the demonstrators had shut down all lanes of Interstate 85 northbound and started a fire on the highway, before being dispersed by police. The interstate reopened around 4 a.m.

Protestors also looted the Walmart on North Tryon Street around 3:30 a.m. The store was closed early Wednesday with wooden pallets piled in front of the doors.

A man who said he's the brother of Scott said to NBC Charlotte this evening:

"He was waiting on his son to get from school and police came out with no...he didn't have on no uniform to determine if he was a police or not -- he was an undercover and he just jumped out and yelled 'gun' and shot at him," he told NBC Charlotte's Tanya Mendis. "I think they shot him four times, I'm not sure, but he's dead."

Hostility among the community grew quickly as word of what happened spread. A woman saying she was the man's daughter posted a video on Facebook Live from the scene.

"Shot my Daddy for being black! And look, they're just standing there."

As night fell, a massive crowd of people gathered on Old Concord Road, chanting in protest.

"People get upset when we say 'black lives matter, black lives matter,' said a student. "But these are the people we have to focus on the most because these types of situations always happen."

The CMPD took to Twitter as the crowds of protesters grew. They said, "several officers injured tonight working to protect our community during demonstration."

NBC Charlotte's Mike Hanson reported around 11:45 p.m. that the CMPD deployed flash bangs and tear gas upon protesters.

Mayor of Charlotte, Jennifer Roberts, also tweeted in response to the protesters.

"I will continue to work with our mayor & Chief on officer involved shooting. We are reaching out to community to ask for calm," and that, "the community deserves answers and full investigation will ensue. Will be reaching out to community leaders to work together," she tweeted.

North Carolina's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, released a statement Wednesday saying they stand with those in mourning in the city of Charlotte. 

"We call for the full release of all facts available," the NAACP said. They requested the city of Charlotte to be transparent with any video and information that "can bring light in the tragic death of Mr. Keith Lamont Scott."

Stay with WCNC.com for the latest on this breaking story.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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