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Police make arrest in shooting death of Scottsdale Special Olympian

John Merryman.jpg
Posted at 4:32 PM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 20:43:34-05

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Scottsdale police confirm they have made an arrest in the shooting death of a local Special Olympics athlete.

Scott Harkness, 59, was found shot and killed early Sunday on the side of the street near Camelback and Hayden roads.

Scott Harkness.jpg

During their initial investigation, Scottsdale detectives found a weapon near the crime scene that was confirmed to be linked to Harkness's injuries and forensically linked to 38-year-old John Merryman. Confirmation linking the gun to Merryman came in on Thursday, police said.

Detectives and Scottsdale SWAT members served a search warrant at Merryman's north Phoenix home early Friday morning. He was taken into custody without incident and was booked into Maricopa County Jail on one count of first-degree murder.

A motive in the shooting is unclear at this time.

"We don't have any other information to support this being part of anything bigger than the sad and tragic incident that it is," says Officer Aaron Bolin, Scottsdale Police Department.

Harkness was an active participant in the City of Scottsdale Adaptive Recreation Program, and an athlete with the Scottsdale Special Olympics Team, the Bobcats.

Friends of the 59-year-old told ABC15 he was a beloved member of the community and will be missed.

"There were people that would come in here and bring him cookies on a regular basis, a couple of times a week. 'Give these to Scottie; give these to Scottie.' That's the type of impact he had on these people," says Jim Curry, recreation leader II, City of Scottsdale.