Experts Point to Brain Injury in N. Carolina Police Shooting | NBC Southern California
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Experts Point to Brain Injury in N. Carolina Police Shooting

Keith Lamont Scott was killed on Sept. 20 by a Charlotte police officer

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    People gather for a vigil at the scene of the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott at The Village at College Downs apartment complex in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 21, 2016.

    Keith Lamont Scott was a different person after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle accident last year. Friends say his medications made him zone out, slurring his words and forgetting what he was saying in the middle of a conversation.

    "You could look at him and tell something was wrong," said Dana Chapman, a former neighbor. "You could walk up to him, you didn't have to speak. You could look at him and tell there was a problem."

    Man Sees Vera Wang Diamond Ring on Sidewalk, Finds Its Owner

    [NATL] Man Finds Vera Wang Diamond Engagement Ring on Sidewalk, Tracks Down Its Owner

    Imagine looking down and finding a pristine diamond ring lying on the sidewalk. That was how Glenn Weddell found a Vera Wang diamond ring one afternoon in Sacramento, California. But instead of keeping it, Weddell hunted down the distraught owner to return the ring in a happy reunion. His method involved posting a sign to a tree downtown and hoping for the best. 

    (Published Thursday, April 27, 2017)

    Scott was killed on Sept. 20 by a Charlotte police officer, prompting days of protests that included another man's shooting death one riotous night. Snippets of body camera and dash-cam recordings released by the police department show Scott slowly backing out of an SUV. Police say he refused commands to put down a gun.

    Scott's final moments also were recorded by his wife, Rakeyia, in a video shared widely on social media. She can be heard shouting to police that her husband "doesn't have a gun, he has a TBI." She pleads with the officers not to shoot before a burst of gunfire can be heard.

    Police Chief Kerr Putney said officers recovered a gun Scott had in his possession, but that none of the videos conclusively show he pointed it at them. Scott's mother maintains he was holding a Quran.

    In any case, neurologists aren't surprised that someone with a severe traumatic brain injury would be slow to react and have difficulty following instructions, particularly when orders are being shouted by police officers with their weapons drawn.

    Inmate Convulses During Execution With Controversial Drug

    [NATL] Fourth Arkansas Inmate Convulses During Execution With Controversial Drug

    The controversy over midazolam, a drug used during state executions of convicted inmates, rises following the execution of a fourth Arkansas inmate in eight days. Witnesses say Kenneth Williams, put on death row for the 1999 murder of two people, moved and shook during his execution Thursday night.

    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    "They don't do well in stressful situations," said Dr. David Brody, professor of neurology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. "They often make poor choices or impulsive decisions under stress."

    Brody noted that his comments refer to severe TBIs in general, and that he never saw Scott as a patient. But he said "there's no way a patient with a TBI who doesn't know the difference between right and wrong should own a gun or drive a car."

    As Scott's family prepares for his wake Wednesday and his funeral and burial Thursday in James Island, South Carolina, where his mother lives, more information about the man's condition and his life has been difficult to come by.

    The family stopped talking with the media after Scott's brother-in-law, Ray Dotch, objected to questions about Scott's criminal background, saying he shouldn't have to "humanize him in order for him to be treated fairly."

    "What we know and what you should know about him is that he was an American citizen who deserved better," Dotch said.

    Lance Sturges, a manager at the Gastonia mall where Scott worked as a security guard last year, remembered the 43-year-old Scott as a polite man who clearly loved his seven children.

    After running his motorcycle into a tree in November 2015, Scott struggled to recover from two broken hips and a broken pelvis as well as his brain injury, his mother told a TV station.

    Chapman, who often works on cars outside his house in Gastonia, said he would see Scott walking twice a day, leaning on a wooden cane for support. "He had to learn how to talk again, how to walk again," Chapman said.

    Flyer Protections on Overbooked Plane Flights

    [NATL] Flyer Protections on Overbooked Plane Flights

    NBC reports on the steps that flyers and travelers can take to protect themselves, and their vacation, from an overbooked flight.

    (Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017)

    The two men had bonded over a love of cars, but they didn't talk much after the accident, and then Scott moved, Chapman said.

    About an hour before he was killed, Scott called another neighbor, he said. They listened to his voice mail after his death, and Chapman said he was clearly distressed: "You can hear it in his voice. He literally cannot talk," Chapman said.

    New Artificial Wombs Stimulates Mom for Preemies

    [NATL] New Artificial Wombs Stimulates Mom for Preemies

    A new invention from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia may soon care for extremely premature babies. Artificial wombs stimulate an environment similar to a mother's womb - a method that researchers say is gentler than ventilators and incubators. 

    (Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017)

    Another neighbor, Anthony Spain, said Scott must have zoned out as police were yelling at him.

    "He was like a baby," Spain told the Gaston Gazette, comparing his friend to an Alzheimer's patient. "They killed a baby."

    Teens Overcoming Opioids Seek Treatment in Recovery Schools

    [NATL] Teens Overcoming Opioid Dependence Seek Treatment in 'Recovery Schools'

    A new method for battling teenage opioid abuse comes not in the form of a new drug or counseling method, but in special "recovery schools" that emphasize communal support and positive peer pressure. 

    (Published Tuesday, April 25, 2017)

    TBIs range in their severity. But if Scott had to relearn how to walk and talk, he likely suffered an injury acute enough to permanently affect brain function, according to Jeffrey S. Kutcher, national Director of The Sports Neurology Clinic at The CORE Institute, in Brighton, Michigan. That "can lead to devastating changes in behavior, impulse control and really, any cognitive function."

    "Not having an appropriate response in a stressful, chaotic event is certainly a potential effect of a TBI," added Kutcher, director of the NBA's concussion program. Kutcher, who also never treated Scott, said the "zoning-out" Scott's friends described could be a direct effect of the TBI or medications.

    New Orleans to Remove Confederate-Era Monuments

    [NATL] New Orleans to Remove Confederate-Era Monuments

    The city of New Orleans will remove four statues of Confederate-era events and figures in an effort to divorce itself from symbols that some see as problematic. The first statue, the Liberty Place Monument, was taken down early Monday morning. 

    (Published Monday, April 24, 2017)

    Scott had several convictions and served time in prison, court records show. As a teenager, he pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor and received a 12-month suspended sentence. He later served six years in Texas for evading arrest with a vehicle and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and was released in 2011.

    Court documents also show Scott's wife filed a restraining order a month before his accident, when she said he threatened to kill her and her son with a gun and hit the boy with his fist. Rakeyia Scott warned law officers then to be aware that he "carries a 9mm black" gun, and checked boxes to indicate her husband had neither a county-issued permit to buy a handgun nor a state permit to carry a concealed handgun.

    Driver Flees Traffic Stop, Dragging Police Officer

    [NATL-DFW] Driver Flees Traffic Stop, Dragging Police Officer

    Body camera footage shows a Florida police officer being dragged by a driver attempting to flee a traffic stop.

    Police said Frank Wetzel, 61, was pulled over after blowing through a stop sign. Police said he started fidgeting with something next to him, making the officer suspicious. He was allegedly later found with a machete and handgun.

    (Published Monday, April 24, 2017)

    "He said he is a 'killer' and we should know that," she said. But he had already left the state when deputies went to serve the restraining order two days later, and about a week after that, Rakeyia Scott dropped her request, saying "He is no longer a threat to me and my family."

    The events surrounding Scott's death are more important than anything in his past, said Justin Bamberg, the family's attorney. "In the end, it was his life to live until law enforcement determined they should take it from him."