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In US: Officer will not face charges in fatal shooting

Officer will not face charges in fatal shooting

Members of Scott’s family had claimed he had no gun at the time of the shooting, or they were unaware that he owned one.

There is no doubt that officers surrounded him. That they shouted at him. That they shot him. But a crucial question about the fatal confrontation between Keith L. Scott and police officers in Charlotte, North Carolina, has always been whether Scott was wielding a gun.

On Wednesday, in a 40-minute news conference that, at times, took on the feel of a courtroom argument, R. Andrew Murray, the district attorney for Mecklenburg County, laid out a case that Scott, who was black, had a gun in his hands and had not heeded warnings to drop it when he was shot and killed.

“It’s a justified shooting based on the totality of the circumstances,” Murray said. No charges, he said, will be filed against the officer, Brentley Vinson, who is also black.

The Sept. 20 shooting of Scott was one of several deadly police interactions with African-Americans that have sparked waves of street demonstrations and an impassioned national conversation about race and the use of deadly force by police officers.

In Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest city, the shooting of Keith Scott set off days of protest, some of it violent, and led to immense public pressure on the police to release dashboard and body camera recordings of the episode.

Members of Scott’s family had claimed he had no gun at the time of the shooting, or they were unaware that he owned one.

But on Wednesday, Murray laid out the most detailed case yet that Scott, 43, was armed when officers confronted him while he was in his parked SUV at his apartment complex.

Scott’s gun, a Colt .380 semi-automatic, fell to the ground after he was shot, Murray said. It was later determined that the gun was cocked, with the safety off. Subsequent analysis found Scott’s DNA on the weapon. Murray said the authorities traced the gun and discovered that it had been stolen from a home, and then illegally sold to Scott 18 days before the shooting.

Scott’s family released a statement on Wednesday that thanked Murray and other officials for meeting with them, and explaining how they decided not to charge Vinson, who was placed on administrative leave after the shooting. The family also said they were “profoundly disappointed” that Vinson was not criminally charged.

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