Protests, Investigation Follow Georgia Tech Shooting - Higher Education
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Protests, Investigation Follow Georgia Tech Shooting

by Joseph Hong

On Tuesday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation released the recording of the 911 call made by 21-year-old Scout Schultz, the Georgia Tech engineering student who was shot and killed by campus police.

Scout Schultz

This comes following a weekend of riots and protests following the death of a student who was well-known on campus as the president of a Georgia Tech Pride Alliance, a student LGBTQ organization. Schultz suffered from depression and had attempted suicide two years ago. L. Chris Stewart, the Schultz family’s lawyer, criticized the university police for their failure to properly deescalate a situation involving an individual with mental illness. An investigation began two days ago by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

On Saturday night, Schultz called 911 to report a man carrying a knife on campus. “I think he might have a gun on his hip,” he said in the call.

When police arrived, they found the man who fit the description. He was a White male with long blonde hair wearing a T-shirt and jeans and clutching something in his hand. It was Scout Schultz. A video released online shows the confrontation that followed.

As reports following the incident explained, Schultz was not holding a knife but an unopened multi-purpose tool. No gun was found in his possession, but three suicide notes were found in his dormitory.

According to a document acquired by Diverse from GBI, the officer who shot Schultz is named Tyler Beck. According to a report by The Washington Post, Beck has about 16 months of experience.

A violent protest occurred following a peaceful vigil for Schultz on Monday. Three individuals, Vincent Castillenti, Jacob Wilson and Cassandra Monden, were arrested and charged with inciting a riot and battery of a police officer. It remains unclear as to whether they are students. Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson regretted the presence of the violent demonstrators.

“We believe many of them were not part of our Georgia Tech community, but rather outside agitators intent on disrupting the event,” he wrote in a statement. “They certainly did not honor Scout’s memory nor represent our values by doing so.”

According to Nelly Miles, Director of Public Affairs at the GBI, the state Bureau was contacted by Georgia Tech Police Department to conduct the investigation.

“It is the common practice for GBI to investigate these types of incidents,” Miles said.

She explained that over the next 90 days, a case file will be compiled consisting of witness interviews, evidence assessments, and autopsy reports. The file will then be handed over to the district attorney.

The Schultz family’s attorney L. Chris Stewart said one of his priorities is to understand “why Georgia Tech never equipped their officers with nonlethal weapons.”

He said he also hopes to find out the types of training Georgia Tech police officers received.

Stewart said that the university police department is certified to handle situations involving mentally ill and intoxicated individuals.

The university declined to comment on the actions taken by Beck.

“From what I’ve seen, the officer who fired the shot was not following protocol,” Stewart said. “The others were.”

Stewart added that he and the Schultz family hope the violent protest will end.

“We don’t support any type of protest that doesn’t stay under control,” he said. “Violent protests do nothing but harm the situation.”

Joseph Hong can be reached at jhong@diverseeducation.com. You can follow him on Twitter @jjshong5.

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