Lilburn, GA — Families and friends have been fighting for justice since their friend and loved one who was struggling with depression was gunned down by Georgia Tech campus police officer Tyler Beck. Now, after over two years of waiting for justice, the family found out there will be none.
An Atlanta District Attorney announced on Friday that Beck would not face any charges in the killing of Scout Schultz, 21. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Beck won’t face criminal charges in Schultz’s death, news outlets reported. Howard said two use-of-force experts concluded the shooting was justified, reports WJCL.
The investigation took over a year, despite dramatic video that was uploaded to Facebook showing the Georgia Tech police officer shoot and kill the fourth-year engineering student from Lilburn, Georgia. Schultz was barefoot and holding a multi-tool at the moment the cop opened fire.
Scout's father, Bill Shultz likely knew this was coming and in 2018, he said he had waited long enough for the slow wheels of justice to turn in Georgia and so he went after the state via a lawsuit. Beck has been on a desk job as he awaited the outcome of the investigation.
“That doesn’t sound like a punishment. It sounds like a reward,” Scout’s father told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution when the lawsuit was announced.
Beck, who was 23 years old at the time, chose to shoot Schultz once in the chest while three other officers on the scene appeared to follow standard de-escalation techniques.
Schultz's family's attorney maintains that Scout was experiencing a "mental breakdown" on the night of the shooting. Indeed, as the video shows, this was the case.
"What was Scout doing that day?" said the attorney, L. Chris Stewart. "Standing there disoriented, having a mental breakdown and was shot from 20 feet away."
Stewart said the “suicide by cop” defense doesn’t justify the shooting.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, police were responding to a 911 call when they confronted Shultz in front of the campus parking garage. It would later be revealed that it was Shultz who made the call on himself.
In the dramatic video, police are heard screaming at Schultz who is yelling back at police, "Shoot me!"
Screaming at a person with a mental illness is not only futile, it only serves to further confuse, frighten, and provoke said person — especially if that person is in the midst of a breakdown — like Schultz was.
As one officer appeared to show bravery and attempt to de-escalate the situation by calmly engaging Schultz, his voice was overpowered by the other voices demanding Schultz drop the knife.
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"Drop the knife!" yell the officers, which only seems to further disturb Schultz.
"What's your name!" repeatedly screams another officer as if that was going to help the situation.
Another officer yells to drop the knife one more time before Schultz takes a small step forward and is shot. Schultz's screams were chilling. Schultz would be taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, but would not make it.
It would later be revealed that the "knife" Schultz was holding was a multi-tool with a tiny blade that was never extended.
"That’s one of the biggest problems in this country is officer’s actions with the mentally ill," Stewart said at the time before being proven right by the police themselves.
After the shooting, as AJC reported, it was revealed that Beck, and the other officers, were not equipped with Tasers. And, like a majority of Tech’s 89 officers, Beck had not completed Crisis Intervention Team training offered by the GBI. The instruction is aimed at helping police recognize signs of behavioral problems caused by mental illness or substance abuse.
This training could've been responsible for saving Scout's life.
According to NBC, Scout's father, called his son "the greatest kid." When asked what he would say to the officer who shot Scout, William Schultz said: "Why did you have to shoot? That’s the question. That’s the only question that matters now."
Bill Schultz explained that his child had a 3.9 GPA and planned to graduate that December. But he would never make it.
"Scout wanted to make new medical devices, and now we’ll never know what Scout might have come up with," Scout's mother, Lynne, said. And she's right, thanks to an untrained cop who was unable to think of any other solution to this incident other than deadly force.
In 2018, Georgia Tech posthumously gave Shultz a degree. His parents said they were grateful for the honor but noted that they could not express joy—as Scout is dead.
Now, this scenario will likely play out like so many others. The taxpayers will be held accountable as the cop who took someone's life continues to be a cop.