A nonbinary Georgia Tech student and campus pride leader named Scout Schultz was shot to death by campus police early Sunday morning in a possible suicide-by-cop.
The officers arrived to the scene in response to an emergency call Schultz made claiming they saw a man lurking on campus carrying a knife and perhaps a gun.
The person they described was themself.
In a phone call to 911, Schultz described the strange figure they saw as “a white male, with long blonde hair, white T-shirt and blue jeans who is possibly intoxicated, holding a knife and possibly armed with a gun on his hip,” the Washington Post reported.
An investigation found that through citing the characteristics of the armed man in question Schultz had in fact offered to police a self-description. That Schultz — who identified as nonbinary and preferred the pronoun “they” to “he” or “she” — intended to die that night, made clear by three suicide notes they left behind in their dorm room.
In a statement to the Washington Post, attorney L. Chris Stewart, who represents the Schultz family, said: “It’s tragic that as Scout was battling mental health issues that pushed them to the edge of desperation, their life was taken with a bullet rather than saved with non-lethal force.”
When officers from the Georgia Tech Police Department responded to Schultz’s emergency call, they found the student holding a knife in the dormitory parking lot matching the description of the character which the student described. When Schultz refused to relinquish their pointed weapon and approached the police closer, an officer fired his gun.
“Stewart said only one officer fired and that none of the other officers who responded from the Georgia Tech police department had been issued Tasers,” the Post reported.
“That’s baffling to me that on a college campus you’d rather give the officers the most deadly weapons and not equip them with less lethal weapons.”
Scout, a leader of Georgia Tech’s Pride Alliance, was favored among their peers.
“I don’t think there was a single person that didn’t love them and cherish them for their involvement in the different causes,” Bill Schultz, Scout’s father, said to the Post.
Lynne Schultz, the victim’s mother, described Scout as “a very loving and caring and empathetic person.”
The firing officer has been identified by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as Tyler Beck.
On Monday a group of fifty incensed mourners marched across the Georgia Tech campus toward the police department in protest of the extremity that the previous day’s violence had wrought upon their college mate, which they believed could have been avoided had the officers not used guns as their primary recourse in dealing with Schultz.
The Associated Press reported Lance Wallace, spokesman for the university, as saying that two officers incurred injuries during the riot, one of whom required hospitalization, and that one police vehicle was damaged.
Three people were arrested on charges of “inciting a riot and battery of an officer.”