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August 22, 2014

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Candlelight vigil held in memory of man killed by Metro Police

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Candles are placed in the gravel Tuesday during a candlelight vigil for Erik Scott. Scott was killed outside a Summerlin Costco by Metro last month.

Erik Scott Vigil

Miles Plannette carries his gun Tuesday during a candlelight vigil for Erik Scott, who was killed outside a Summerlin Costco by Metro Police last month. Launch slideshow »

Tina and Steven Botwick didn’t know Erik Scott, but they joined more than 100 other people outside a Costco store in Summerlin on Tuesday night to mark the one-month anniversary of Scott’s death.

“I’ve followed a lot of the story, and my heart just goes out to his family and friends,” Tina Botwick said. “We just needed to come and support them.”

Scott was killed July 10 by Metro Police officers called to the store. Police said Scott was destroying merchandise and pointed a gun at officers, but his friends and family question Metro’s version of what happened.

“Just like everyone else here, we just want to know the truth and get answers,” Tina Botwick said.

A coroner’s inquest to determine if the police shooting was justified was initially scheduled for Sept. 3 but was later postponed indefinitely.

Metro officials have said they will wait to release the 911 recordings and any video surveillance of the event until after the inquest.

But many of Scott’s friends want the police department to be more forthcoming with evidence.

“People are frustrated,” said Anthony Bonifazio, who knew Scott for 11 years and spoke at the vigil. “It’s been 30 days and we know no more now than we did July 10.”

“No more speculation or passing blame, let’s just get the truth,” he said.

Those at the vigil didn’t express anger at Metro or blame the officers involved but said they hope the incident leads to better training and possibly a new way to investigate police shootings.

“I would like to trust the police department, but there’s too many questions. I don’t like it,” Steven Botwick said. “Especially in the last year, there have been so many questionable incidents, and they seem to be happening more frequently.”

Benno Kaiser drove to Summerlin for the vigil from his home in Henderson.

“I don’t want the coroner’s inquest to be a whitewash. The more people we have here, the more attention it will get,” he said. “There needs to be a fair investigation.”

Click to enlarge photo

During a surfing competition in Huntington Beach, Calif., a plane tows a banner questioning the shooting death of Erik Scott by Metro Police in Las Vegas. Family and friends of Scott raised money for the banner and for billboards to keep attention focused on the case.

Scott’s family and friends have worked to keep attention focused on the case, setting up a website and Facebook page and taking donations that have been used for billboards in Las Vegas and for a plane to tow a banner over the U.S. Open of Surfing in California.

The banner read: “Vegas police cover up? R.I.P. Erik B Scott.com.”

Steven Schneiter, one of Scott’s coworkers, brought his extended family to the vigil.

“It’s been a very surreal experience — the fact that he was here one day and then gone the next,” he said.

Schneiter said he hopes Scott’s death will lead to better training for police officers, and he was impressed with the turnout at the vigil.

“It’s nice to know that the memory of Erik Scott is still alive,” he said. “It’s become very much a viral thread, and his voice continues to be heard.”

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