They could have done something like Mr. Kyle or Kevin Riley without much uproar. Riley hadn't been seen since TOS, Kyle was last seen in TWOK. It's not the same as a core or even regular guest character. Could have been done. But I'm not surprised it wasn't. The obligatory throw-away no-name character death is typical.
Likewise I doubt Scotty would have been near as upset, visibly wise, over such as compared to his nephew who died a bloody and horrible death in TWOK.