In the aftermath of a night of violent riots and protests in Charlotte, N.C. over the shooting of a black man by a black police officer, Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney confirmed during a press conference Wednesday morning that the subject in question was armed with a handgun when he was fatally shot by police Tuesday.
Putney added that a handgun was recovered at the scene, which Scott allegedly had in his hand when he emerged from his car and was ultimately shot by a black police officer.
Putney, who is also black, claimed police did not find a book at the scene, responding to a spreading theory that a book is all Scott was holding when he was shot dead by police.
"I can tell you a weapon was siezed, a handgun. I can also tell you we did not find a book that has been made reference to," Putney stated during the press conference.
"I can just tell you what I know based on what we've gathered through the scientific process of going through the evidence," he added. "There was a weapon. The weapon was there."
From the Charlotte Observer:
The man who died was identified late Tuesday as Keith Lamont Scott, 43, and the officer who fired the fatal shot was CMPD Officer Brentley Vinson, a police statement said.
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 Scott leave his car holding a gun.
Officers approached Scott after he got back into the car. He emerged from the car again armed with a firearm “and posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers, who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject,” police said in a statement. “The officers immediately requested Medic and began performing CPR.”
Scott’s death sparked a rash of violent riots in the North Carolina capital Wednesday night, during which protestors blocked off chunks of I-85, looted tractor trailers and set fires in the middle of the highway. Rioters also threw rocks, bottles and traffic cones from overpasses onto the traffic below, resulting in some injuries to motorists and damage to multiple vehicles.
Local reports stated protesters also looted a Wal-Mart on North Tryon around 3:30 a.m.
Putney confirmed during the press conference that 16 officers were injured in the riots, including several who were hospitalized after being hit with rocks.
The protests were largely sparked by a Facebook live stream of the aftermath of the shooting filmed by a woman claiming to by Scott’s daughter. In the video, the woman claims Scott was unarmed and only holding a book as he waited for his son to get off the school bus.
The narrative of an unarmed black man reading a book before being needlessly shot by police officers immediately took off like wildfire across social media.
A book. A gun. It's all the same to them. The only thing more dangerous to them than a "thug" BP is an educated BP. #KeithLamontScott— black history heaux (@localblactivist) September 21, 2016
#KeithLamontScott:— NUFF$AID (@nuffsaidNY) September 21, 2016
• Reading book waiting on son's school bus
• Witnesses say he was unarmed
• Cops say he was armed
• Shot DEAD
@nuffsaidNY he was apparently armed... With a book, which is much more dangerous than a gun.— Carolina SPN (1-1) (@Leo8586Tiger) September 21, 2016
The last time someone was at risk of getting killed for reading or knowing how to read was during slavery. It's 2016 tho. #KeithLamontScott— Frugal Homie Steve (@StephCurryGoat) September 21, 2016
During Wednesday’s news conference, Putney stated more information will be made publicly available pending an investigation.