The Clark County coroner's inquest into the fatal shooting of a West Point graduate outside a busy Summerlin Costco has been set for Sept. 22-24, a county official said Thursday.
County spokeswoman Jennifer Knight said a jury will be convened at 9 a.m. at the Regional Justice Center for the inquest into the fatal shooting of 38-year-old Erik Scott on July 10.
The seven-person jury will determine whether the actions of three Las Vegas police officers who shot Scott were justified, excusable or criminal.
The inquest, which is open to the public, was initially set for Sept. 3 but was delayed after the Clark County district attorney's office said police had not submitted appropriate paperwork, including witness statements, needed to subpoena those who saw the shooting. Also, concerns existed about scheduling the inquest the Friday before Labor Day weekend.
Meanwhile, an inquest into another officer-involved fatal shooting, of 21-year-old Trevon Cole, will start at 8 a.m. today at the courthouse at 3rd Street and Lewis Avenue. Cole was shot June 11 by Detective Bryan Yant during a late-night drug raid at Cole's Las Vegas apartment.
Ross Goodman, a lawyer representing the Scott family, said he is relieved an inquest date has been set in the Scott case because that means police finally will make public the evidence involved.
Goodman has been adamant that store surveillance cameras might have caught the shooting and that the 911 call made by a store worker will shed light on what transpired before the shooting.
"The family is happy to know two months after their son was fatally shot by police they (Las Vegas police) are finally in a position to produce all the facts and circumstances surrounding his death," Goodman said.
Citing the investigation, police Thursday declined to release the 911 recording, and the hard drive from the store surveillance system remains under forensic review by a police agency in Southern California.
Bill Scott, Erik's Scott's father, said in a telephone interview that although he is skeptical of the inquest system, he is holding out hope.
"We're willing to give the process a chance to provide the truth and to ensure justice is done by holding those responsible for his killing accountable."
Erik Scott's family and friends have launched a campaign that includes digital billboards placed in high-traffic areas throughout the Las Vegas Valley. Among messages the billboards have flashed: "Let the Truth Be Known!"
The family had planned to scatter Erik Scott's ashes in the Pacific, but his father said cremation has been postponed and the body is being preserved.
Goodman said the body has been preserved so an independent autopsy can be done if the family finds fault with the autopsy conducted by the Clark County coroner's office. The results are expected to be released at the inquest.
Police said they have interviewed about 50 witnesses to the shooting. The inquest is expected to last for three days because of the large number of people expected to testify. County officials have said the inquest could extend past Sept. 24 if needed. It also could take less than the three days.
Police spokesman Marcus Martin said Thursday his department's Homicide Section, in search of additional witnesses, sent 120 letters to Costco members who were shopping at the store the day of the shooting. Martin said the effort was standard police work.
Police said they were called to the store because they received reports from store workers about an armed man acting erratically.
Scott, a medical device salesman who had a concealed-weapon permit, was carrying two pistols. He reportedly was involved in some kind of altercation with a store worker and was asked to leave the store because he had a weapon.
There have been conflicting accounts of whether Scott ignored police commands to get down on the ground and put his hands in the air and of whether Scott drew a gun on police. Police have said Scott pointed a pistol at an officer.
Three officers have been placed on routine paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation and an inquest. They are William Mosher, 38, a five-year veteran of the department, Joshua Stark, 28, and Thomas Mendiola, 23, both two-year veterans.
The shooting was not the first for Mosher, who in April 2006 was one of two officers who shot and killed a suspect in a car.
Contact reporter Antonio Planas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4638.