New video of the death of Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz provides possibly the clearest view yet of last month’s shooting by a campus police officer.
The video, shot by a student in a nearby residential hall and linked via the Twitter account of a lawyer associated with the case, shows Schultz walking slowly towards the officers as they formed a semi-circle — some 20 feet away — around the 21-year-old Lilburn native.
WARNING: The video shows Scout Schultz’s final moments in graphic detail and may be disturbing to some viewers
“There’s a large gap between the officer and Scout,” said Chris Stewart, the attorney for Schultz’s parents.
Tyler Beck, the officer who fired the fatal bullet, is seen shining a flashlight on Schultz, who had a utility tool with the blade not extended. Schultz had called 911 to report a male with a knife and, perhaps, a gun, acting strangely on the west side of campus.
“(Beck) should’ve definitely seen he wasn’t holding a knife,” Stewart said. “This video is devastating for Georgia Tech.”
Georgia Tech officials have declined comment on the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation.
Schultz had ignored commands to drop the multi-purpose tool and could be heard on another video of the incident shouting “Shoot me!” at the officers.
“What’s striking about it is the officer to (Beck’s) right is stepping back” as Schultz moved forward,” Stewart said. “(The other officer) was doing what you’re supposed to do.”
“All of the other officers are de-escalating,” Stewart said.
Like a majority of Tech’s 89 officers, Beck, 23, had not completed Crisis Intervention Training offered by the GBI. The instruction is aimed at helping police recognize signs of behavioral problems caused by mental illness or substance abuse. Schultz, who left behind three suicide notes, suffered from depression and had previously attempted suicide.
Beck has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the GBI’s investigation into the shooting, which is ongoing. The GBI will present its findings to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard who will decide whether criminal charges are warranted.
Don English, Beck’s lawyer, said his client was justified in shooting Schultz.
“I’ve not talked to one law enforcement professional who would disagree that the use of force was justified in the situation that confronted these officers,” English, general counsel with the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, told Channel 2 Action News.
Critics say Beck’s lack of training, and Tech’s decision not to equip its officers with electronic stun guns, turned what was a manageable situation into an unnecessary tragedy.
“The school failed the officer in training and equipment,” said retired police officer Marvin Reddick, a 25-year veteran of law enforcement and a Tech policeman from 2005 to 2010.
Stewart said he met recently with university officials in hopes of keeping the case out of the court system.
“We wanted to resolve this in a positive way,” he said.
Tech officials, Stewart said, declined the offer, which included an engineering scholarship in Schultz’s name for LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Queer, Intersex and Asexual) students, mandatory CIT training and Tasers for all of Tech’s officers.
“We cannot enter into a mediation; we need additional information, such as that contained in the GBI’s investigation, before we can determine next steps,” Georgia Tech’s VP for legal affairs, Pat McKenna, responded in a letter to Stewart. “We appreciate the family's interest in seeing that the issues raised by Scout’s death are addressed in a peaceful and constructive manner.”
Stewart said Schultz’s parents will be filing a civil lawsuit against the university in the coming weeks.