ATLANTA - The parents of a Georgia Tech student shot and killed by police spoke out for the first time about their loss and the questions that remain after the shooting.
The parents of Scott “Scout” Schultz said their son was suffering a mental breakdown when he was shot.
Schultz was shot once in the heart after a confrontation with four Georgia Tech Police Department officers around 11 p.m. Saturday. Officials with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said the officers responded to a call of a person possibly armed with a gun and knife near a dormitory and parking deck.
Georgia Tech Police Department officers said the 21-year-old engineering student was brandishing a pocket knife when they arrived and found Schultz outside a Georgia Tech dormitory Saturday night.
The GBI told Channel 2’s Tyisha Fernandes they found three suicide notes in Scout’s dorm room and he had called campus police himself Saturday night.
Schultz was not cooperative and would not comply with officers' commands to drop the knife, the GBI said. They said Schultz approached the officers, despite continuous commands. The GBI said that is when one of the officers shot Schultz.
Schultz was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital and later died, the GBI said.
His parents said Monday that they just have one question for the officer who shot their son.
“Why did you have to shoot? That’s the question. That’s the only question that matters right now. Why did you kill my son?” father Bill Schultz said during a Monday news conference.
When Bill Schultz dropped his son off at Georgia Tech last month to finish up his last semester of engineering school, he said he could not have predicted it would be the last time he saw his son alive.
“Scout took the summer off to decompress, because let’s face it, Georgia Tech is a hard program,” Schultz said.
Schultz said Scout was also battling depression and had a breakdown a couple years ago.
Late Saturday night, his parents said Scout was having another mental breakdown when someone called police and said a student armed with a gun and knife was outside a campus dorm.
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Video shows police talking to a barefoot Scout just minutes before one officer fatally shot him in the heart.
Police said they never found a gun, but Scout was wielding a knife.
His parents and their attorney, L. Chris Stewart, disagree.
“The narratives have said he was wielding a knife. This is a knife. This is the facts. This is what he had that day, a multipurpose tool which has pliers, a screwdriver and a tiny little knife on it,” Stewart said, showing the knife that was found on Scout.
The family said police overreacted.
“Whatever happened, it shouldn’t have ended in a death,” Bill Schultz said.
Campus police admitted they don't carry stun guns or pepper spray, just guns.
Late Monday afternoon, Stewart released a statement about the latest finding from the GBI, saying:
"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.
"The GBI confirmed to the family the existence of three notes written by Scout but most importantly the GBI also confirmed that the multi-purpose tool in Scout's possession did not have the blade out.
"The family now wonders where the narrative came from that Scout was wielding a knife and was a danger to the officers.
"Scout was holding a closed multi-purpose tool, with their arms to their side and simply walking, struggling for their life.
"Their cry for help was met with a bullet."
Who is Scout Schultz?
Scout Schulz was president of Georgia Tech’s Pride Alliance, a student organization for LGBTQIA students and their allies.
Schultz's father said Scout was on a scholarship at Georgia Tech and had a 3.9 GPA.
He added that Scout had received extensive counseling after a previous incident, but that neither parent had any idea anything had been wrong within the past four weeks.
He said he is surprised officers had never encountered Scout before, and said officers should have more than just negative interactions with students on campus.
A vigil will be held to honor Schultz's life at 8 p.m. Monday at the Georgia Tech Campanile.
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