Vigil for slain Georgia Tech student turns violent

ATLANTA — Protests erupted late Monday on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, after police fatally shot a student who allegedly had a knife.

The violence took place around the time of a planned vigil for the student, Scout Schultz, 21, who was killed Saturday. Video on social media showed a police car in flames.

Protests erupt on Georgia Tech campus after student was killed. (Photo: Justin Yoo)

Georgia Tech police urged students to stay inside and lock their doors because of “violent protests on campus.”

The fatal encounter on Saturday happened after police responded to a 911 call at 11:17 p.m. reporting a suspicious person on campus. The caller said the person — described as a white male with long blond hair, white T-shirt and blue jeans, possibly intoxicated — was holding a knife and possibly a gun.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Schultz made that 911 call.

Cell phone video shows the officer repeatedly yelling at Schultz to put the knife down and not move. In the video, after Schultz takes a few steps forward, an officer opens fire.

Three suicide notes were found in Schultz’s dorm room, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said. No gun was found at the scene and the only knife found was one inside a multipurpose tool, the GBI said.

Family attorney: Officer who fired overreacted

Earlier on Monday, family attorney L. Chris Stewart said Schultz was barefoot and “disoriented,” in the middle of a “mental breakdown.” Stewart also accused the officer who opened fire of overreacting.

He also accused the school of pushing a narrative that Schultz was a “knife-wielding” threat despite evidence suggesting otherwise.

Family condemns violence

As president of the Georgia Tech Pride Alliance, Schultz was known as a leader in the campus LGBTQ community.

According to the group’s web site, Schultz identified as nonbinary and intersex and preferred the pronouns they, them and their.

Schultz’s family condemned the violence through their lawyer late Monday.

“On behalf of the family of Scout Schultz, we ask that those who wish to protest Scout’s death do so peacefully,” Stewart said in the statement. “Answering violence with violence is not the answer.”

“Our goal is to work diligently to make positive change at Georgia Tech in an effort to ensure a safer campus for all students,” Stewart said. “This is how we will truly honor Scout’s life and legacy.”