One of the greatest challenges facing police in the current political climate is dealing with the aftermath of shooting down violent offenders, whom much of the public sees as martyrs–even when these individuals endangered the lives of police officers.
According to the Washington Times, Georgia Tech college police shot down a knife-wielding student who continued to advance on the officers and refused to drop his weapon. The slain student identified as gender “nonbinary” and was president of the campus Pride Alliance.
The fatal confrontation was caught on camera by student onlookers. The attacker, 21-year-old engineering student Scott Schultz, can be seen approaching the campus police while holding a knife in his hand.
The officers repeatedly instructed Schultz to drop the weapon, but he refused. The young student can be heard shouting “shoot me!” Eventually, one of the campus police shot him down as he drew near, knife still in hand.
The incident began early Sunday morning, when police received a call about an armed man with a knife and gun. When they arrived on the scene, they encountered Schultz, who fit the description provided by the 911 caller.
As the Washington Post reports, Schultz himself was the one who made the phone call. The student had informed police of a suspicious “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.”
Investigators who examined Schultz’s body found that the weapon on his person was a multipurpose tool containing a knife. However, no firearms were found on the student. Further developments led police to believe Schultz committed “suicide by cop.”
As covered by the Daily Caller, Schultz left behind three suicide notes in his dormitory. He had a history of mental illness and was an open member of the LGBT community, personally identifying as “bisexual, nonbinary and intersex.”
Schultz changed his name from the given “Scott” to the more gender ambiguous “Scout.” He did not consider himself male or female, and preferred to be referred to with the pronouns “they” and “them” rather than “he” or “she.” Schultz’s parents seemingly encouraged his lifestyle choice. She called her child a good student, saying “they always worried [they were] going to fail a test but got all A’s and only two B’s at Tech.”
Schultz’s parents blame Georgia Tech campus police for using lethal force. The officer fired at Schultz in the chest with a shot that proved lethal. As NY Daily News notes, the student’s father at a press conference Monday asked, “Why did you have to shoot? Why did you kill my son?” The family lawyer says Schultz was having a mental breakdown.
Schultz’s family are not the only ones blaming the police. According to CNN, a group of about 50 protesters marched outside the campus police station on Monday. They lit a police car on fire and injured two officers. Three arrests were made in connection with inciting a riot and battery of an officer.
The killing of Scott Schultz raises questions about mental illness, particularly its prevalence in the LGBT community. It remains to be seen whether the political Left will be willing to have that discussion or opt to put the blame solely on law enforcement.