Maress Scott left his son Tuesday night filled with hope.
After a tumultuous year, his 20-year-old son Marquis Scott had a plan. He was set to start a construction certification program the next morning. He planned to stay with his grandmother, who lives in St. Petersburg’s Midtown area, close to the program. That night, the father left his son with a bike and a brand new air pump and bike lock.
“I’m in, Dad,” Marquis Scott told his father.
Invigorated, Maress Scott headed home to Pinellas Park. The 50-year-old father was only there for a few minutes when he got a call to come back.
His family learned that Marquis Scott had been shot at Queensboro Avenue S and Yale Street, just a few blocks from his grandmother’s house. He had been riding the gold-colored bike his father had given him. Paramedics rushed him to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, where doctors later pronounced him dead, according to St. Petersburg police.
Detectives are still looking for the shooter.
“My son Marquis really loved life, and he really loved people," his father told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday. "Any help that they can provide in bringing these people to justice — it would do little to calm the hearts of all the people that he touched, but it will make a difference for us all.”
While police released few details Wednesday about the 20-year-old’s murder, his parents think it may be a connected to a November 2018 shooting their son was involved in.
Marquis Scott and another person were in a car with Sean Flournoy, 19, according to police records, who had offered a ride to another man in exchange for marijuana. When they arrived at their destination, Flournoy tried to rob the man and shot him in the chest. Scott, police said, pushed the wounded man out of the car.
The man survived, but was left paralyzed from the chest down. Police arrested Scott in December on an attempted murder charge. Flournoy turned himself in the next month on the same charge. He could not be reached for comment.
Both men await trial. Scott’s was scheduled to start in November and Flournoy’s in December.
Marjorie Scott, 49, said she’s seen people on social media calling her son Marquis a snitch, pointing to the fact that he had been arrested first. She said she thought her son was killed to keep him from testifying.
“I don’t know anybody who dislikes him enough to try to kill him," the mother said.
St. Petersburg police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez said detectives will look at any possible connections between the two incidents.
“Everything’s on the table right now," Fernandez said.
Marquis Scott was loved by many, his parents and former high school football coach said Wednesday. He was the youngest boy of seven, with one younger sister. They said he was full of life and had a brilliant, contagious smile.
He attended Bethel Community Baptist Church and performed with its mime ministry, his father said. He also played football for most of his life, most recently as a defensive lineman for Northeast High School. During his senior year, his teammates elected him team captain.
“He always had his teammates’ backs," said coach Jeremy Frioud. “That’s why the team is so distraught over this."
School was never Marquis Scott’s strong suit, his father said, but he finished and graduated with his class in spring 2018. He got a football scholarship to Georgia Military College but lost it after an arrest on a marijuana possession charge, a devastating blow, his father said. Adjudication was withheld in that case, court records show, and the son completed 62 hours of community service.
That fall, he joined two of his brothers in Tallahassee and enrolled in community college, all on his own. He was set to start classes, but then came the shooting back home in St. Petersburg over Thanksgiving. He spent spring 2019 in county jail before being freed on bail in May.
Since then, he had been living with his mother and sister in Tampa. On weekends, they’d explore their new city and go to the movies. He spent the weekend before his death taking care of his mother, who had broken her foot.
Marquis Scott stayed close with his dad, too. He confided in his father that he was worried about his future and wondered if he could be successful. His father reassured him that God had a plan.
The pair had a catchphrase of sorts: "Two peas in a pod. Always is, and always was.”
Northeast High’s football team will wear white in Friday night’s home game to remember Marquis Scott, the coach said. They’ll also collect donations for the Scott family.
“He would want everybody smiling and laughing," Frioud said of his former player. “If you read this and think about him, try to smile.”
St. Petersburg police ask anyone with information about this case to call (727) 893-7780.
Times senior news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.