Scott, 50, was killed when North Charleston officer Michael Slager, 33, shot at him eight times from behind on April 4.
Stanley Welson, a church member and friend of the Scott family, including Walter, told PEOPLE that the family had reserved 200 seats in an auditorium that would hold 500. All told more than 600 showed up for the service, filling the auditorium and vestibule to watch TV monitors if they couldn’t get in. Some never made it inside the building.
The hearse carrying Scott’s body was accompanied by a police escort of two officers on motorcycles, according to USA Today.
The Scott family did not allow cameras into the three-hour service at the church that was scheduled to start at 11 a.m., but was delayed almost an hour due to the crowds.
Pastor George Hamilton who gave the service said that Scott’s death was, “motivated by a case of overt racism. It is a disgrace to all of those who put their lives on the line to protect citizens, those who have done a great job protecting citizens.”
“We respect the law, those carrying out and fulfilling their jobs. This particular one is a disgrace, honest cops live to serve. We don’t want to give the impression here, to indict the whole city of Charleston.” he added.
The funeral programs featured messages written by the Scott family.
“No words we write could ever say how sad and empty we feel today,” part of it read. “The angels came for you much sooner than we planned, we’ll brave the bitter grief that comes and we’ll try to understand.”
During the two-hour service the open casket sat at the foot of the podium, flanked by a large spray of spring flowers on one side, a blue and white cross on the other. A soloist, backed by the choir and an ensemble of keyboard and two drums, performed “Going Up Yonder to be with My Lord,” while men, woman and children wiped away tears.
“He was always smiling,” Welson told PEOPLE. “He was very athletic and I loved to tease him, especially about football. He loved the Dallas Cowboys”
Former Governor Mark Sanford, who was at the funeral, told PEOPLE, “I am here to show my respect, personally and professional, and to grieve for the family. This is a time to grieve, to morn, to show respect, we can talk about what to do later.”
Another of Scott’s friends at the funeral, Norris Washington, used the time to reflect on his last meeting with Scott about a month ago.
“When we said goodbye he shook my hand and said ‘take care,’ ” Washington shared with PEOPLE. “Then he told me he loved me.”
Afterwards a procession of the hearse and three family cars drove to Live Oak Memorial Gardens Cemetery where Walter was buried.
There will also be a service at Charity Church at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
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