- Associated Press - Thursday, July 9, 2015

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Judy Scott prayed and wept Thursday as she viewed for the first time the site where her son Walter was shot and killed by a North Charleston police officer three months ago.

Accompanied by family members, Scott spent several minutes gazing tearfully at the scruffy, empty lot behind an auto parts store. Family members joined hands and prayed, thanking God for strength and the ability to endure.

Scott broke into sobs as another son spoke of the reasons why the more than two dozen relatives and friends had come to the site.

“We just want to say that we are holding on,” Anthony Scott said. “We will remain strong and continue to believe in God. Hopefully, the family will … receive justice.” His father, also named Walter, stood silently, his head bowed.

Both parents wore small black ribbons that held a small photo of their son.

“It’s a sad thing to be here today. But we are going to be OK,” Anthony Scott said.

A video turned over by a bystander that subsequently went viral on the Internet shows Walter Scott and former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager briefly scuffling before Scott runs away and the officer fires a gun eight times at Scott’s back.

Slager is charged with murder and could face life in prison without parole if convicted.

Walter Scott’s 24-year-old daughter, Samantha Scott, held a small umbrella to shield her grandmother from the blistering sun as they walked down a small road leading to the site.

As they closed in on the chain-link fence surrounding the lot, several family members softly whispered to Judy Scott how at one time flowers had been arranged there to mark Walter’s passing.

Judy Scott took out a small tissue and dabbed at her eyes.

The small group joined hands at the urging of one family member and prayed.

“Glory be to God!” one family member called out. “We thank you for your many blessings, God!”

Family attorney Chris Stewart said afterward that Judy Scott was unable to find words to describe her feelings during the visit, even though she had thought she might be able to address the reporters who gathered at the site. He said the past three months have been hard on Scott’s parents, but that they have drawn great strength from the courage shown by the family members of the nine people who were massacred at the predominantly black Emmanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston on June 17.

A white man, Dylann Storm Roof, faces nine counts of murder in the Charleston church slayings.

“The courage and fortitude shown by the family members of that shooting have given Miss Judy the courage to begin her own healing process,” Stewart said.

“With everything that’s been going on, it was important for the family to close a wound by coming out here and seeing where it happened.”


Follow Susanne M. Schafer on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/susannemarieap

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