A newspaper carrier was found dead in the road and a second person was reportedly found wounded early Wednesday in a typically peaceful part of uptown near popular Romare Bearden Park.
Police are focusing their investigation on the 300 block of West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The man found dead was identified as Walter “Wes” Scott Jr., 65. He lived in Lancaster County, S.C., south of Charlotte. Scott worked delivering newspapers in uptown for more than 40 years. He was under contract with a company that is also under contract to deliver The Charlotte Observer in the uptown area.
Scott delivered newspapers to sales racks and was apparently in the early part of his route at the time, having just left the warehouse at 2:06 a.m., source said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police detectives say they received a call at 2:20 a.m. Wednesday about an assault with a deadly weapon in the 300 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
On arrival, they found a man lying in the street with an apparent gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead on the scene by Medic.
Police say another man flagged down police down near W. Martin Luther King Boulevard and Tryon Street and reported he had also been shot. He was transported by Medic to Carolinas Medical Center where he is being treated for a non-life threatening gunshot wound.
Scott Upright owns the company that delivers for the Observer, and he said Scott had played various roles in the newspaper delivery business for more than 40 years. Upright said Scott was a father of four who also worked as a South Carolina state constable. State constables are certified law enforcement officers appointed by the state’s governor and regulated by the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division.
Scott had turned 65 on Feb. 2, and had been thinking of retirement in the past week, Upright said.
“He finally decided against it,” Upright said. “He told me he was a ‘lifer’ and that he’d probably deliver papers until the day he died. Those are haunting words now.”
Upright said Scott focused on delivering newspapers to uptown hotels, shops and convenience stores. Scott normally started his day between 12:30 and 1 a.m., he said.
Police had not given Upright details of what happened early Wednesday, he said. Upright said Scott was known to wear his constable badge around his neck as he delivered papers. “He didn’t hide the fact of what he did during the day,” said Upright.
At the same time, Scott was not one to go looking for trouble, Upright added.
“At 3 in morning, there are only two types of people on the street: Those who are working and those who are up to no good,” he said. “I tell my carriers that, if they see someone who doesn’t look familiar, don’t even get out of the car. Just come back later.”
A 12th floor resident of the nearby Catalyst, a luxury highrise apartment building, told the Observer he was awakened at about 2:15 a.m. by the sound of gunshots. The building is just across the street from where the shooting occurred.
“It was five shots, three quick ones, then two more,” said the man, who has lived in the building only five months. He asked not to be identified. “I hope this doesn’t become a trend.”
Representatives of the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Homicide Prosecution Team, Special Investigations, Homicide Support Group, and Operations Command responded to the scene.
Anyone with information is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a Homicide Unit Detective. Detective Isenhour is the lead detective assigned to the case.