Arrest made in uptown shooting death of 65-year-old newspaper carrier

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Police have arrested a man they said shot and killed a well-known newspaper delivery man in uptown Charlotte.

Police were called to the 300 block of West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near Romare Bearden Park around 2:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Investigators said 22-year-old Roger Best shot and killed Walter “Wes” Scott Jr., 65, while he was delivering newspapers. Police believe Best tried to rob Scott, then shot him.


As police were responding to the shooting call, another man flagged down officers at the intersection of Martin Luther King Blvd. and South Tryon Street.

That man, who police announced Thursday morning was Best, said he was shot and was rushed to the hospital, where he is still recovering.

Police have not said how Best was shot.

Once he is released from the hospital, Best will be booked into the Mecklenburg County Jail, charged with murder, attempted armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Channel 9 has learned that Best has been arrested seven times since 2015, according to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office.

In the last two years, he's been arrested two different times for cutting off his GPS monitor, and he’s been arrested twice for violating his parole. His other arrests include possession of a stolen vehicle and larceny.

Scott lived in Lancaster, South Carolina, and delivered papers in Charlotte every day.


Many of the officers who answered the call knew Scott because he had been delivering newspapers to uptown businesses for years. The captain of the central division said it officers pretty hard.

"It wasn't unusual for Wes to be out on a crime scene, he'd be the first one there," Capt. Dave Johnson said. "He roamed around at night for close to 40 years I think. A lot of officers knew him. It was tragic."

“It’s completely terrifying and devastating,” said Georgia Pace, who was out walking her dog later that evening.

Pace lives in a nearby high rise apartment and said management sent out an email to all residents following the shooting.

“It said they were working on investigating and collecting evidence to determine who had possibly done the shooting,” Pace said. “Also, they would be stepping up security and have police monitoring the area.”

It’s a startling reality for those who come to the restaurants and bars, popular park and even baseball stadium in the area.

“I’ve been here for like five months and have never seen this,” said one man. “Hearing this. I am very surprised.”

“It's hard.... I can't believe he's gone,” said Vanessa Bower, who met Scott shortly after she moved to Lancaster County from Virginia.

She was still in shock on Thursday.

“It's scary to think that a man that honorable and honest and was just doing something to make a living, that he's gone,” she said.

Scott’s murder also hit hard among police officers who worked the uptown area where he had delivered newspapers for decades.

“He roamed around at night for close to 40 years I think. A lot of officers knew him, it was tragic,” said Capt. Dave Johnson.

Even CMPD Chief Kerr Putney spoke about a man he said he only knew through other people's depictions.

“It was a loss, not just for the family. I met with the family but also for our officers,” he said.

Channel 9 crime-mapped the area. There have been 27 other crimes have been reported over a four-week period and within a quarter-mile radius of where the shooting happened, according to a crime-tracking database.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call police or report the information anonymously to Crime Stoppers.

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