Tragic mystery as LGBTI student police shooting protests turn violent

There are reports that American LGBTI student and activist Scout Schultz, who was shot by campus police on the weekend, was the one who called officers to the scene.

Schultz, 21, was studying computer engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and identified as bisexual, nonbinary, and intersex.

After being alerted to a suspicious person on campus on Sunday night, police found Schultz wandering around holding a small pocket knife (it remain unclear if the blade was extended). Video footage shows officers telling them to put the knife down.

Schultz appeared to refuse, continued walking towards the officers and shouted at them, “Shoot me”. A shot was fired by an officer, killing the student, who was set to graduate in December.

Three suicide notes were found in Schultz’s dorm room. Amid indications that Schultz was having a mental breakdown, police have been criticised for using excessive force.

The killing led to protests on campus that turned violent on Monday night. A police vehicle was set on fire and two officers were injured, while three people were taken into custody.

Reports have now emerged suggesting that Schultz may have been behind the confrontation with police, with the intention of being shot.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said that Schultz had called 911 and reported “a white male, with long blond hair, white T-shirt & blue jeans who is possibly intoxicated, holding a knife and possibly armed with a gun on his hip”.

Schultz’s mother, Lynne, confirmed that her child suffered from anxiety and depression, and had twice attempted suicide.

“Why didn’t they use some nonlethal force, like pepper spray or Tasers?” she asked the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“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,” commented L. Chris Stewart, the Schultz family attorney, in a statement.

Scout Schultz just before being shot

The family called on students to refrain from violence. “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,” they said.

Schultz was president of the Georgia Tech Pride Alliance, which on Monday posted a statement praising the student’s leadership.

“They pushed us to do more events and a larger variety events, and we would not be the organisation we are known as without their constant hard work and dedication,” said the alliance’s board.  “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.”

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