Lilburn, GA — Families and friends gathered this month to commemorate the one year that had passed since their friend and loved one was gunned down by Georgia Tech campus police officer Tyler Beck. Now, after a year of waiting for justice, the family is saying that they have waited long enough.
The investigation has taken over a year, despite dramatic video that was uploaded to Facebook showing the Georgia Tech police officer shoot and kill a fourth-year engineering student from Lilburn, Georgia. Scout Schultz, 21, was barefoot and holding a multi-tool at the moment cops opened fire.
Scout’s father, Bill Shultz says he has waited long enough for the slow wheels of justice to turn in Georgia and so he is going after the state via a lawsuit. In December after a several months-long paid vacation, Beck was given a desk job as he awaits 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.
As the AJC reports, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office continues to investigate the circumstances that led Tech police officer Tyler Beck, 23 years old at the time, 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.”
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.
“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, William Schultz, 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.
This past spring, 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.