This Wednesday, Nov. 23, will mark the anniversary of the death of Clayton Police Officer Roger Scott.
Officer Scott died as a result of injuries he received six years earlier when he was shot and beaten on Clayton Road.
From Clayton Police Department records and articles from the Concord Transcript, the events of the morning Officer Scott was shot are revealed. Much of the information in the records came from statements made by Officer Scott himself.
In the pre-dawn hours of Sunday Sept. 18, 1977, Officer Scott was the lone officer on duty for the Clayton Police Department. While in the area of the Farm Bureau Hall on Clayton Road, he heard yelling coming from St. John’s Episcopal Church across the street.
When he drove into the church parking lot, he saw a nude man walking on the church grounds and screaming, “My father!”
Officer Scott called in his location and situation on the radio.
At that time the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office provided routine cover for Clayton Police. The nearest Deputy began to respond from the Martinez area about 20 minutes away.
Officer Scott located the man near the rear of the church. He was completely naked and covered in blood from lacerations that covered his body. The man was later identified as David Lane, a 30-year-old Clayton resident
Initially, Scott thought the man was a victim of an assault or had been involved in some type of accident. So, he made the decision to approach the man. As Scott walked to him, Lane charged at him striking him in the mid-section. The blow knocked Scott’s portable radio from his belt. It was later found in the bushes.
Scott pushed Lane away and made his way back to his car to call for help. But, Lane chased him into the car. Lane jumped on top of Scott in the front seat. Scott struck Lane numerous times with his flashlight and remembers it being bent from the impacts. Even still, Lane had managed to strike Scott with a piece of wood he had found.
Pieces of wood were later found imbedded in Scott’s badge.
As they struggled, Officer Scott managed to call in an 11-99 (officer needs help) on his car radio. Then, Lane managed to wrestle Scott’s revolver from his holster and shot him in the head. Lane shot Scott a second time in the left arm.
By now Officer Scott got his car started and tried to flee in it. Lane fired a third time, striking the rear window of Scott’s police car.
Meanwhile, the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department received a call from a Clayton resident who said he had just heard three shots fired and had seen a man going over a fence. The resident claimed the man, “Didn’t even sound human.”
By this time, the Sheriff’s Deputy was responding with lights and siren having heard the 11-99 put out by Scott. The Concord Police Department also sent help, Sgt. James Webster also raced to help Scott.
As Scott tried to get away in his car, he said that the dashboard was spinning and he thought that he had rolled his car. He eventually crashed into a planter box.
Officer Scott got out of his car and tried to crawl away on all fours. He later said he knew he was injured seriously and everything was blurry. He remembers seeing Lane looking though some bushes. The next thing Scott knew was that Lane was on top of him and striking him in the head with a rock.
Officer Scott tried to defend himself from the blows but Lane’s attack did not relent.
By this time Sgt. James Webster arrived at Officer Scott’s location. When he found him, Officer Scott was lying face down, motionless, and covered in blood. David Lane was standing nearby screaming, “I had to do it. It was the Lord’s will.”
Sgt. Webster ordered Lane to stop but Lane advanced on Webster. Sgt. Webster retreated for a short distance telling Lane to put his hands up, telling him he would shoot him if he did not stop. When Lane charged him in a crouched position Sgt. Webster shot Lane once.
David Lane died from the single gunshot wound.
The coroner later found that Lane was not under the influence of any drug or alcohol. His upper body was lacerated from climbing over a cyclone fence. He was seen several hours before the shooting carrying a long robe, staff and bible. The coroner’s opinion was that Lane had suffered a mental breakdown.
Officer Roger Scott survived for over six years after the shooting and beating. He underwent surgery several times, some of which was reconstructive.
He eventually died as a result of his injuries on Nov. 23, 1983.
Officer Roger Lovell Scott was a Criminology major at Fresno State and had served with the Tuolumme County Sheriff’s Department as a patrol deputy before coming to Clayton. He was 23 years old when he was shot.
He served two years with the Clayton Police Department. He left behind his wife Robin.