ATLANTA (AP) — The officer who fatally shot a Georgia Tech student had been with the campus police department for about 16 months, according to state records.
Officer Tyler Beck shot and killed Scout Schultz, 21, Saturday night after the fourth-year student called 911 to report an armed and possibly intoxicated suspicious person, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.
Beck is on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation, Georgia Tech said on its website.
Beck became an officer with the campus police department on May 21, 2016, according to records from the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, or POST, which certifies law enforcement officers in Georgia. Georgia Tech has refused to release any personnel records for Beck.
In social media posts on March 7, 2016, the department said Beck was about to start about 11 weeks of training in the police academy. The posts say Beck had joined the department the previous summer as a public safety officer, which the posts tout as a good way to start a law enforcement career.
The POST records show Beck completed 492 hours of training in 2016 and 64 hours of training so far this year. But it does not appear from the records that any of the training courses focused specifically on dealing with people with mental health problems.
The GBI has said Beck and other officers were responding to a 911 call about 11:17 p.m. Saturday when Beck shot Schultz as the student advanced on officers with a knife and refused commands to put it down. Chris Stewart, a lawyer for Schultz’s parents, said Monday that the GBI confirmed to him that Schultz was holding a multipurpose tool and that the knife blade was not out.
Investigators recovered a multi-purpose tool at the scene but didn’t find any guns, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said
Stewart said he plans to sue over the shooting.
Schultz was the one who called 911, and three suicide notes were found in his dorm room, Miles said Monday.
In audio of the 911 call released Tuesday, Schultz calmly tells the dispatcher that someone “skulking around outside” has a knife in his hand and might have a gun on his hip and “looks like he might be drunk or something.” Schultz says the white male has long blond hair and is wearing a white T-shirt and jeans, a physical description that matched Schultz.
Lynne Schultz told the Journal-Constitution over the weekend that her oldest child had struggled with depression and had attempted suicide two years ago.
After that, Scout Schultz went through counseling, William Schultz said. Scout Schultz spent this past summer at home and there were no obvious problems when school resumed last month, the elder Schultz said.
Stewart, the attorney, told reporters Monday that Scout Schultz appeared to be having a mental breakdown at the time of the shooting.
William Schultz told reporters Monday that his child had a 3.9 GPA and was on track to graduate early in December.
Schultz was president of Pride Alliance at Georgia Tech. The computer engineering student used the name Scout, rather than the given name Scott, and preferred the pronouns “they” and “them” rather than “he” or “him.”
“I’m bisexual, nonbinary and intersex,” Schultz wrote in a Pride Alliance profile.
Georgia Tech issued alerts Monday night urging students to shelter indoors because of violent protests that followed a vigil for Schultz. Video posted on social media showed a campus police vehicle burning in the street and officers pinning people to the ground as onlookers shouted at them.
About 50 protesters marched to the campus police department following the vigil, university spokesman Lance Wallace said. A police vehicle was burned and two officers suffered minor injuries, with one taken to a hospital for treatment and later released.
Georgia Tech president G.P. “Bud” Peterson in a letter to the university community Tuesday said he believes the problems were caused by people “intent on creating a disturbance and inciting violence.”
“We believe many of them were not part of our Georgia Tech community, but rather outside agitators intent on disrupting the event,” he added. “They certainly did not honor Scout’s memory nor represent our values by doing so.”
In a statement released through Stewart, Schultz’s family urged protesters to remain peaceful.
The university said three people were arrested during the protest but hasn’t said whether they were students.
Fulton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan said Vincent Castillenti, of Decatur, faces two counts of aggravated assault on an officer and two counts of willful obstruction of law enforcement officers.
Jacob David Wilson, of Atlanta, faces two counts of aggravated assault against a peace officer and three counts of criminal trespass, Flanagan said.
Andrew Xavier Monden, of Atlanta, faces charges of interference with government property and inciting rioting, Flanagan said. Georgia Tech had identified the third person arrested as Cassandra Monden.
Associated Press writer Jeff Martin contributed to this report.