Shortly before midnight this past Saturday, Tech student Scout Schultz, fourth-year CompE, was fatally shot by GTPD during a confrontation.
Information received by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) as a result of an open records request showed that Schultz had left three suicide notes in their room before calling the police at around 11:17 p.m. and describing an individual that fit Schultz’s appearance. Schultz noted that the individual was armed with a knife and possibly a gun. At the end of the call, they left their name as “Scott Schultz,” Schultz’s birth name.
Officers arrived at the location advised by Schultz during the call — on Eighth Street near West Village — and found Schultz present. A video taken of the confrontation shows GTPD officers slowly backing away from Schultz, while repeating calls for them to drop the “knife.”
“C’mon man, drop the knife,” said one officer.
“C’mon, let’s drop it,” said a second.
“Shoot me,” Schultz responded.
“No,” the first officer replied. “Drop the knife.”
After roughly one minute more of back and forth between the officers and Schultz, GTPD officer Tyler Beck fired a single shot, hitting Schultz in the chest. Schultz collapsed to the ground; screams can then be heard in video footage of the incident. Schultz was taken to Grady Hospital and pronounced dead soon after. An autopsy will be carried out by the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office.
According to the GBI, the GTPD requested at about midnight on Saturday that the GBI conduct an investigation regarding Beck. He has been placed on paid leave while the investigation is ongoing. Records appear to show that Beck did not have training in crisis intervention.
“It is not going to prevent the use of force in all instances where you’re dealing with someone in psychiatric crisis but an officer at least has skills to rely on,” said GBI Director Vernor Keenan in a statement regarding crisis training.
A Georgia Tech Emergency Notification System (GTENS) alert that had been issued around 11:32 p.m. Saturday was lifted at around 11:49 p.m.
In the aftermath of the shooting on Saturday night, a vigil was planned for 8:00 p.m. on Monday.
Aby Parsons, Ph.D., director of Tech’s LGBTQIA resource center, reflected on Scout’s impact on campus, including that which they had through their position as President of Pride Alliance.
“Scout was instrumental in leading Pride Alliance through a critical rejuvenation phase these past two years,” Parsons said. “They had been working hard to bring the organization back to its political and activist roots while still creating a welcoming community for all LGBTQIA students.”
According to Parsons, Schultz endeavored to bring about a number of collaborations and partnerships between Pride Alliance and other organizations, including Lost-n-Found Youth, a homeless shelter serving LGBTQIA youth.
“Scout was fiercely principled and relentless in their political work,” Parsons said. “They were always cognizant of the fact that the LGBTQIA community as we know it today emerged from a protest movement and so they were driven by their commitment to eliminating barriers to justice and liberation even when that work was hard and messy.”
Chris Stewart, the attorney for Schultz’s parents, has said that he plans to sue.