Scout Schultz, a Georgia Tech student, who identified as non-binary and intersex and was president of the Georgia Tech Pride Alliance, called 911 early Sunday morning, reporting "a person with a knife and a gun" on campus. He then went into a parking lot and waited, holding a multi-tool pocket tool with no blade exposed. Campus police arrived shortly after and surrounded Schultz with guns drawn, yelling at them to "drop the knife."
Schultz walked slowly towards the officers.
No, drop the knife.
Schultz walks forward again. One officer shoots them. Schultz falls to the ground, shot in the chest.
Clearly Schultz was having a mental health episode, which is not uncommon on college campuses. Nobody has explained why the police did not originally try nonlethal force.
Schultz was rushed to the hospital and died 30 minutes later.
Why didn’t they use some non-lethal force, like pepper spray or tasers?
--Schultz's mother, Lynn
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has since begun investigating the incident, although the bureau’s press release uses Schultz’s deadname—a transgender person’s former name used prior to transitioning—which is a harmful and disrespectful practice. Ongoing media coverage on Schultz’s death has remained insensitive, with some outlets referring to Schultz by their former name, and others using the incorrect pronouns. Also, across the internet, some have mocked Schultz for being transgender, even on their memorial page.
Scout was a senior majoring in computer Engineering and minoring in Biomedical Engineering, planning a career working on medical devices.
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.
People have breakdowns sometimes. That doesn't mean they deserve to die.
--L. Chris Stewart, family attorney
In addition to maintaining high marks in the rigorous engineering program, Schultz faced additional stressors as an activist and community leader who was open with their gender identity.
Scout was an outspoken leader so it feels in character with this person to not forget how they lived but also... to talk about the circumstances of their death
--Sarah Buttons, mental health professional
While this is a heart-wrenchingly painful time for the entire Georgia Tech community, it is important to know that all of us here at Georgia Tech are committed to providing a safe and healthy, living and learning environment for all of our students, faculty and staff.. As we work through this tragic event, I encourage you to take advantage of all of the resources we provide here on campus, for mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
--Georgia Tech President "Bud" Peterson
The family now wonders where the narrative came from that Scout was wielding a knife and was a danger to the officers. Scout was holding a closed multipurpose tool, with their arms to their side and simply walking, struggling for their life.
Their cry for help was met with a bullet.
We are all deeply saddened by what has occurred. They have been the driving force behind Pride Alliance for the past two years. They pushed us to do more events and a larger variety events, and we would not be the organization we are known as without their constant hard work and dedication. Their leadership allowed us to create change across campus and in the Atlanta community.
Scout always reminded us to think critically about the intersection of identities and how a multitude of factors play into one's experience on Tech's campus and beyond. We love you Scout and we will continue to push for change.
I'm sure others will write about the aftermath of the vigil, which was not peaceful.