The lawyer for the family of a student shot dead by Georgia Tech police slammed the university and the officer who shot and killed the 21-year-old, saying Monday the deadly shooting was an overreaction and was poorly handled by the university.
Scott “Scout” Schultz was pronounced dead Sunday morning after an officer shot the student. Schultz was rushed to a hospital, but pronounced dead, Fox 5 Atlanta reported. Several officers said they found Schultz holding a knife around 11:30 p.m. Saturday outside the West Campus residential community. They reportedly urged Schultz to drop the object before one officer fired his gun.
Schultz’s father, William, questioned the police officer’s motive in the shooting.
“Whatever happened, it shouldn’t have ended in a death,” the grieving father said during a Monday news conference.
When asked what he would say to the officer, he responded: “Why did you have to shoot? That’s the question. That’s the only question that matters right now. Why did you kill my son?”
Chris Stewart, the family’s attorney, who is also investigating the case, said Georgia Tech perpetrated a false narrative by claiming Scott Schultz was carrying a large knife and charging toward the officers Saturday night before the shooting. Stewart said Schultz was carrying a “multi-purpose tool” that had a “tiny little knife.”
“The knife wasn’t even open. That was the truth…that’s what Georgia Tech didn’t tell you,” Stewart said, adding that the officer was about 20 feet away when he fired a bullet into Schultz’s heart.
Stewart compared Schultz’s death to other recent controversial officer-involved shooting deaths. He praised the other officers at the scene who attempted to calm Schultz, but slammed the one campus cop who fired the deadly shots, saying the officer “overreacted.”
“But yet that one officer took the life of the president of the Pride group at Georgia Tech, the child of the Schultz family, the person that was loved on campus because they overreacted,” Stewart said. “At the end of the day there were two failures. That one officer who decided to take Scout’s life… and the other failure was Georgia Tech, who confirmed they don’t give their officers Tasers.”
He called the handling of the situation “totally inappropriate.”
Lynne Schultz, the student’s mother, said Scout had strong beliefs and “a promising future.” The family said the student suffered from depression and was having a mental breakdown when the deadly ordeal happened. William Schultz said he took Scout to counseling for several weeks after the 21-year-old attempted suicide two years ago.
Videos from witnesses at the scene showed the campus police ordering Schultz to put down the knife.
“Drop the knife! Drop the knife!" the officers were heard shouting, to which Schultz responded: “Shoot me!”
"Nobody wants to hurt you, man. Drop the knife," another officer said.
A few moments later, an officer fired his gun and Schultz was heard screaming. Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Nelly Miles initially said in a statement that Schultz “continued to advance on officers with the knife” before being shot dead.
William Schultz said Scout was at Georgia Tech with a full scholarship. The student was a fourth-year computer engineering major and was scheduled to graduate in December. He added Schultz took the summer off to relax and the last time he saw the student was in August. The Georgia Tech Pride Alliance, which Schultz led, said it was “deeply saddened” by the death.
Said William Schultz: “There is no question that Scout will be dearly missed by the people who knew him.”