Keith Lamont Scott had been arrested more than five times and spent more than six years in prison in one stretch. He was married to the same woman for more than 20 years and was a father to seven. He was a regarded as a good security guard at a local mall, but died at the hands of local law enforcement near his home.
The complicated tapestry of his life came to an end Tuesday when police in Charlotte, N.C., shot Scott outside a condominium complex amid a murky set of circumstances that sparked riots, fueled the debate over police tactics and became the latest Rorschach test for the nation’s view on race.
At the center of it all was Scott, a relatively unknown man in life and a nationally trending topic in death.
He was 43.
Scott was born in South Carolina, and his mother, Vernita Scott Walker, still lives in the Charleston area. She said her son was a family man and told local television station WCSC that he’d suffered in recent months after being involved in a motorcycle accident in November.
“He had some issues with his brain, and he had two broken hips and broken pelvis … and his nose was broken,” she said. “It caused him to stutter his words, and sometimes he couldn’t remember what he said.”
Before that, neighbors said, he was a proud father who would watch his son play football at the local middle school in Gastonia. He would, if the weather was nice, detail his truck with an older son. On Facebook, his daughters and a niece posted a video of him playfully dancing at a family function to the Chris Brown/Usher slow jam, “New Flame.”
“RIP killer Keith u will be forever loved and missed frfr love you uncle,” Tylicia Shameer Gladden wrote above the video, which had more than 20,000 views and had been shared more than 264 times. A cousin, identified as Kellie Doll, started a GoFundMe campaign that, as of Saturday afternoon, had raised $4,685. Funeral plans have not been disclosed.
His family has largely avoided giving lengthy interviews about Scott since the controversial shooting. But on social media, they’ve been active – highly critical of law enforcement’s version of events.
Police have said Scott was armed at the time and in possession of marijuana; family members contend that he had only a book, which they say he was reading while waiting at a bus stop for his son to return from school.
In a video Scott’s wife, Rakeyia, recorded of the moments before his death, she told police he wasn’t armed, wouldn’t do anything and had just taken medicine for his TBI – traumatic brain injury.
Crissy Ferguson, who knew him for about two years when the Scott family lived down the street in Gastonia, said he was a friendly presence who had an unmistakable baritone – “a radio voice” – and was generally approachable.
“He was real jovial,” Ferguson said. “He could have his intimidating looks on some days. But he was usually laid-back.”
Ferguson said Scott’s motorcycle was a source of pride for him. But since the accident, she said, he had to walk with a cane.
Scott had worked at the Eastridge Mall as a security guard for about a year.
“He did a good job for us,” said general manager Lance Sturges.
“Our security folks are customer-service-oriented and ambassadors, and they have to have the gravitas to work with big and small situations and enforce the rules and regulations. He did that,” Sturges said.
Source: Los Angeles Times | David Montero and Jaweed Kaleem