It’s been one year since a Georgia Tech police officer fatally shot a student on campus.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office is still investigating the September 16, 2017 shooting that killed 21 year-old Scout Shultz. The student’s parents and their attorney plan to file a civil suit against the university, the police department and the officer who pulled the trigger.
“It’s been a difficult year,” said Scout’s father, Bill Schultz. “Scout’s sister is probably the most impacted because she’s kind of withdrawn into herself, hides in her room all day long.”
Schultz, an engineering student who identified as non-binary, had a history of depression, according to his family. Police said Officer Tyler Beck opened fired when Schultz refused to drop a knife. Investigators later found a multi-purpose tool at the scene. Authorities said it was Schultz who called 911 reporting a suspicious person and left notes behind.
Several officers responded and the encounter was captured on cell phone video.
“Everyone saw the video where all of the other officers performed phenomenally, deescalating, backing up. Even though they had their weapons out, no one else fired. One officer even had pepper spray, not even a gun. But yet the one officer fired for absolutely no reason,” said attorney L. Chris Stewart.
“It was a tragedy that could have been avoided. It would have been exactly avoided by the changes they made after the death, it never would have happened, he would have been shot with a Taser,” said Stewart.
Georgia Tech police officers have since been equipped with Tasers and are required to compete crisis intervention training. The school said 87% has done that so far. In March all supervisors went through extended use of force training
There has been expanded resources for LGBTQIA students and an effort to improve mental health services on campus.
Bill Schultz said, “ I’m happy with what they’ve done. I think that’s a great improvement. I won’t say there’s nothing further they could do, there are certainly things that could be done better.”
He added, “I just tell everybody if you see something, say something. Try and intervene, try and prevent a suicide so that’s been kind of my focus for the last year.”
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