ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia Tech police officer who fatally shot a student struggling with depression won’t face criminal charges, a district attorney announced Friday.
Officer Tyler Beck shot and killed fourth-year student Scout Schultz in Sept. 2017 after Schultz refused to drop his weapon.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Beck won’t face criminal charges in Schultz’s death, news outlets reported. Howard said two use-of-force experts concluded the shooting was justified.
Schultz, 21, called police and said a man was walking around the dorms with a knife and possibly had a gun. Schultz gave police a physical description of himself.
Beck and three other officers were dispatched to the parking deck where Schultz was waiting with a multi-tool knife. A video capturing the incident shows Schultz daring police to fire their weapons as he ignored officers’ commands to stand still and drop his weapon.
Beck shot Schultz in the chest.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation found three suicide notes and Schultz’s parents confirmed he suffered from depression and tried to kill himself two years earlier.
Howard said evidence indicates Schultz provoked the officers so they could shoot him. Attorney Chris Stewart, who represents Schultz’s parents, said the “suicide by cop” defense doesn’t justify the shooting.
Schultz’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Georgia Tech, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and Beck. The lawsuit said Beck used excessive force and wasn’t adequately trained to respond to situations involving people experiencing mental health crises. If he’d had proper training, Schultz would be alive, Stewart previously said.
Beck had been an officer for about 16 months at the time of the shooting, and training records do not indicate that he had training in crisis intervention techniques. Less than one-third of Georgia Tech’s police officers had undergone the 40-hour course, according to records released by the school at that time.