Vernita Walker calls her son, Keith Lamont Scott, a “mama’s boy” who called her every day.
He last checked in with her on Tuesday afternoon at around 2, Walker says. “But I missed his call.”
About two hours later, Scott, 43, was fatally shot by police conducting a search for someone who had an outstanding warrant. Scott was not the person police were looking for.
His shooting launched a night of violent protests in the University area and conflicting stories from neighbors and police. Police say they saw Scott had a handgun as he got out of his car and got back in. A woman who said she is Scott’s daughter said on a live-streamed video that Scott was unarmed, sitting in his car reading a book.
Protesters have taken to the streets of Charlotte following the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday. Officials allege a black officer opened fire on Scott after he emerged from his car with a gun in the University City area. Family members say Scott, a disabled black man, was holding a book.Nicole L. Cvetnic / McClatchy
In a brief phone interview with the Observer, Walker hesitated talking about her son in the past tense: “I don’t like to talk about him in that term.”
She called him “a family man” and “a likeable person.”
“... And he loved his wife and his children ... And this was, they don’t want to say it, but a mama’s boy. Yes, he’s one of those. But he was a smart, young man.”
Neighbors at The Village at College Downs complex on Old Concord Road described Scott and his family as friendly people.
Yolanda Haskins says she’s lived in the neighborhood 10 years. She said Scott, his wife and their seven children moved into the neighborhood over the summer to stay with relatives who live in the complex.
She said she’d often see Scott waiting for his son’s elementary school bus to arrive, usually between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m. On hot days, like Tuesday, she said he often waited in his truck in the shade.
“They’re just friendly people,” she said.
Neighbors said Scott was disabled. A husband and wife who lived across the street from the family said they saw Scott daily, walking the complex with a cane and a book in his hand. “He did the same things every day,” said the wife, who with her husband has lived in the neighborhood for four years.
“I would see him with his cane. Either he sat in his truck there, or he sat up when it was time to get the kids off the bus. But he walked with a book, he sat in his car, quiet man.”
Her husband said Scott was a familiar site in the parking lot, walking laps and waiting in his truck near the entrance when school let out to wait on his children. “That man didn’t bother nobody.”
A public records search shows that Scott was convicted in April 2004 of a misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon charge in Mecklenburg County. Other charges stemming from that date were dismissed: felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and misdemeanor assault on a child under 12, assault on a female and communicating threats.
In April 2015 in Gaston County Court, Scott was found guilty of driving while intoxicated.
In 1992, Scott was charged in Charleston County, S.C., with several different crimes on different dates, including carrying a concealed weapon (not a gun), simple assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He pleaded guilty to all charges.
Scott also was charged with aggravated assault in 1992 and assault with intent to kill in 1995. Both charges were reduced but the disposition of the cases is unclear.
It wasn’t clear Wednesday what brought Scott to Charlotte. His mother said he had “numerous good jobs” and worked desk jobs. She said Scott’s wife, Rakeyia Scott, was speaking for the family. She could not be reached.
A Go Fund Me page set up for Scott had raised $685 toward $15,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.
Staff Writer Cristina Bolling and staff researcher Maria David contributed.
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