The Georgia Tech police officer who shot and killed the 21-year-old leader of the school's Pride Alliance during a confrontation will not face criminal charges, Fulton's top prosecutor said.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard will not pursue charges against Tyler Beck, who was 23 at the time of the September 2017 incident with Scout Schultz.
Howard said the death of Schultz was “a tragedy of major dimension" but Schultz (photo) “urged the officers to shoot him," Howard said in a statement to Project Q Atlanta. Schultz used they/them pronouns, but Howard referred to Schultz with he/him pronouns in his statement.
“Moments before he was shot, Schultz continued to ignore commands from officers and charged towards the officer who fired the fatal shot,” he said.
Schultz, who identified as bisexual, nonbinary and intersex, called 911 the night of the incident. Beck was one of four campus police officers who responded. Schultz was in a residential area of campus holding a multipurpose tool, according to the AJC.
Schultz held the device “menacingly in his right hand,” Howard said.
“Based upon the clothing he was wearing at the time, it was also highly possible he had a gun,” he said.
Schultz ignored commands from officers to drop the knife and urged them to shoot, according to Howard.
Beck shot Schultz once in the heart and they died 30 minutes later at Grady Memorial Hospital. The shooting was justified, according to Howard.
“Though it is difficult to make exact psychological conclusions in such matters, all of the available evidence indicates Schultz decided to take his own life by provoking police officers to shoot him,” he said.
Two use-of-force experts involved in the investigation also said the shooting was justified, according to Howard.
Chris Stewart, an attorney who represents Schultz’s parents, told the AJC that the “suicide by cop” defense doesn’t justify the shooting.
“There’s no such thing,” he said. “It’s disappointing to see the DA perpetuate this myth.”
"How come the other officers didn't shoot?" he added.
The killing raised a number of questions, including why campus police officers weren’t equipped with tasers. Beck was the only responding officer who had not completed crisis intervention training, according to the AJC. Georgia Tech said in 2018 that all sworn officers were provided tasers and 87 percent of officers received the intervention training offered by the GBI, according to WSB-TV.
Beck remains with the Georgia Tech Police Department, according to the AJC.