The .380ACP Colt Mustang found by Fox 46 News reports that a so-far unnamed fellow arrested on a breaking-and-entering charge has told police that he sold the stolen firearm to Keith Scott.Police near Keith Lamont Scott after his shooting last week was reportedly more than just a heater – it was a hot item.
— FOX 46 Charlotte (@FOX46News) September 26, 2016
Criminals lie, of course, and those who are in police custody due to one transgression have been known to make up stories to save their own skin. Still, the narrative around the Scott shooting that helped people rationalize days of protests and rioting has ‘evolved’ a bit from its starting point. At the beginning, the story was that Scott was shot while reading a book (he loved to read the Qu’ran, according to his mother,) and possessed no firearm–the ‘disarmed’ point also being one that his wife makes repeatedly on the video she recorded during the incident. The fact that a firearm and holster were found kind of kills that story.
We also now know that in 2005, Scott pled no contest before a Texas court to charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and evading arrest with a vehicle. He was released from prison in 2011, but per federal (18 U.S.C. sec. 922(g)) and North Carolina law, he remained legally prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Granted, the fact that he possessed a firearm — even doing so in violation of the law — does not, by itself, mean that police were justified in shooting him. I’ve not seen any indication that the police knew who Scott was, or had an idea that he was barred from possessing a firearm due to a prior felony conviction. (If they saw him with the joint and the gun…that might be enough to try to disarm him, for whatever that’s worth.) Nor does the fact that a 1911-style pistol is seen cocked with the safety off while on the ground mean that it was about to be fired in anger before it landed there.
I can testify that on more than one occasion, the safety on my (sadly departed) Springfield EMP got disengaged through occasional jostling and bumps; it has also been my experience that the frame-safety on a firearm similar to the Mustang can be disengaged while in a pocket. And, let’s just be fair here, a guy smoking a joint might have forgotten to engage the safety in the first place when he headed out that day.
The police claim that they saw Scott with marijuana, but didn’t act against him until they saw that he had a gun; you can, indeed, hear them repeatedly telling Scott to “drop the gun” on the videos of the incident from police as well as the one made by Scott’s wife. (Spoiler alert: none of the videos show the events leading up to the confrontation.) While it’s always wise to avoid judgment before investigations are complete, the facts that are trickling out so far support the CPD’s version of events, and paint a rather unfavorable picture of Scott.