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Special Olympian found shot to death in Scottsdale

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Posted at 9:27 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 12:22:27-05

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — A man who was shot and killed in Scottsdale over the weekend is now being identified as a local Special Olympics athlete. 59-year-old Scott Harkness was found along the side of the road, near Camelback and Hayden.

"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.

Scott was well known and well loved. Friends would meet up with him at Zipps Sports Grill in Scottsdale almost every weekend. That is also where friends say he was last seen before being shot and killed.

"How happy he was. I mean, he made you happy," says Anna Ellis, recreation leader II, City of Scottsdale.

"My heart is broken to know he's not going to be back here," says Curry.

A beloved figure within the Scottsdale community, known for his love of sports and fitness.

"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.

59-year-old Scott Harkness was found shot on the side of the road, near Camelback and Hayden. Officers received a 911 call from a witness in the early morning hours of Sunday, saying they had spotted him. Others reported to police that they heard gunshots in the area. Friends believe Scott was walking home when he was attacked.

"Maybe someone saw him at the bar and caught on that this is a target, this is a vulnerable person," says Ellis.

Anna Ellis was one of Scott's former coaches for the Scottsdale Special Olympics Team: the Bobcats.

"He excelled in everything that he did. You will never, you're not going to find a better athlete than what we had in Scottie," says Ellis.

He was also an honorary assistant coach - helping mentor younger athletes and making sure they were prepared.

"This man loved the organization of the equipment. He would tell us what we needed to order; he would tell us what we needed to do to improve," says Ellis.

Scott trained and volunteered at Club SAR, a fitness center run by the City of Scottsdale.

"Every day he would come here around 2:00 p.m. He had specific things he wanted to do," says Curry.

Scott liked setting up for kickboxing class, even moving giant heavy bags on his own.

"They're not easy and he would throw them around like rag dolls," says Curry.

Scott is being remembered for having a big heart.

As for the investigation, police say they are currently following up on some leads but as of right now, no arrests in this case. A possible motive is also unclear.