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The Georgia Tech Officer Who Shot And Killed A Student Is Under Investigation For Use Of Force

Audio of the 911 call was released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday.

Last updated on September 19, 2017, at 5:08 p.m. ET

Posted on September 19, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. ET

Georgia authorities on Tuesday said they have opened a use of force investigation into the Georgia Tech police officer who fatally shot Scout Schultz, the student body president of the Pride Alliance.

Schultz was carrying a folded multipurpose tool on campus — police initially said it was a knife. Officers opened fire from several feet away when Schultz ignored demands they drop it.The GBI told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday that Georgia Tech police officers do not carry tasers. They do carry pepper spray.Protests erupted on Georgia Tech's campus on Monday night, after a candlelight vigil for Scout. The university said that three people were arrested, one of whom is a student.
Scout Schultz / GT Progressive Student Alliance

Schultz was carrying a folded multipurpose tool on campus — police initially said it was a knife. Officers opened fire from several feet away when Schultz ignored demands they drop it.

The GBI told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday that Georgia Tech police officers do not carry tasers. They do carry pepper spray.

Protests erupted on Georgia Tech's campus on Monday night, after a candlelight vigil for Scout. The university said that three people were arrested, one of whom is a student.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation also revealed the identity of the officer as Tyler Beck. He is on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Beck joined Georgia Tech in 2015 and served as a public safety officer before becoming a campus police officer, according to a Facebook post on the Georgia Tech Police Department's Facebook page.

Georgia Tech Police Department / Via Facebook: GaTechPD

Beck was sworn in last May — after 11 weeks at the police academy — according to a more recent post on page.

The university confirmed that the Tyler Beck in these posts is the same person under investigation.Ryan Powell, the director of operations for POST, a regulatory agency for officers in the state, told BuzzFeed News that Tyler Beck had not received crisis intervention training. He said that Beck became a police officer on May 21 of last year. Vernon Keenan, the director of the GBI, said that crisis intervention training teaches officers how to de-escalate situations when they are dealing with someone in “psychiatric crisis." “The objective is to de-escalate a situation and hopefully minimize the potential to employ force,” he said.CIT is not state-mandated for officers, according to Powell, and 67 of GTPD’s 89 officers have not undergone the training, which is a 40-hour-long course. “I don’t know of any state that mandates CIT for every officer,” Powell said. What is mandated training for officers, according to Powell: six hours of mental health training and four hours of crisis intervention training. Officers also have to complete 40 hours of firearm training.Keenan said that the discrepancy — between firearm training and mental health training — is unbalanced.
Georgia Tech Police Department / Via Facebook: GaTechPD

The university confirmed that the Tyler Beck in these posts is the same person under investigation.

Ryan Powell, the director of operations for POST, a regulatory agency for officers in the state, told BuzzFeed News that Tyler Beck had not received crisis intervention training. He said that Beck became a police officer on May 21 of last year.

Vernon Keenan, the director of the GBI, said that crisis intervention training teaches officers how to de-escalate situations when they are dealing with someone in “psychiatric crisis."

“The objective is to de-escalate a situation and hopefully minimize the potential to employ force,” he said.

CIT is not state-mandated for officers, according to Powell, and 67 of GTPD’s 89 officers have not undergone the training, which is a 40-hour-long course. “I don’t know of any state that mandates CIT for every officer,” Powell said.

What is mandated training for officers, according to Powell: six hours of mental health training and four hours of crisis intervention training. Officers also have to complete 40 hours of firearm training.

Keenan said that the discrepancy — between firearm training and mental health training — is unbalanced.

The attorney for the Schultz family tweeted on Tuesday that "the officer had only a year on duty and no crisis intervention training."

The officer had only a year on duty and no crisis intervention training I commend the patience of the other officer… https://t.co/cgc6NRaKF1

On Wednesday, in a phone call with BuzzFeed News, the attorney called the officer's lack of crisis intervention training "shocking." He said that a college campus contains a “sensitive population.”

“I knew it had to be something with training or inexperience and it proved to be true," he said of Beck.

He applauded the work of another officer, who he said backed up and tried to de-escalate the situation. “He knew it was an obvious mental health situation and didn’t want to take Scout’s life,” the attorney said.

Lance Wallace, a spokesperson for Georgia Tech, said that he couldn't comment on the Beck's "personnel file."

He said that the university is preparing a statement on their officers training requirements.

Stewart said that GBI’s investigation should be turned over to the district attorney for review "pretty soon."

When Scout’s dad was asked by BuzzFeed News on Wednesday how he was feeling, he responded: “No parent wants to be organizing a funeral for their kid.”

"It's incredibly sad. We’re working our way through it, and we shouldn’t have to," he said, "this should not have happened.”

Georgia investigators released audio on Tuesday of Schultz calling 911 on Saturday evening to report a person with a knife and possibly a gun on campus.

The GBI revealed on Monday that it was Schultz who made the call.

"Hey, I'm over at West Village," Schultz says in the audio. "It looks like there's somebody like skulking around outside," the student says. "It looks like he's got, he's got a knife in his hand. I think he might have a gun on his hip."

In the audio, Schultz describes the person as a blonde, long-haired, white male, wearing a white T-shirt and jeans. In the call Scout says the person is on the sidewalk across from West Village, "walking kinda slow," and suggests the person might be drunk.

On Monday, following a press conference of the Schultz family and their attorney, the GBI said that "one multipurpose tool that contained a knife" and "no firearms" was recovered from the scene of the shooting.

This clarified an earlier statement by the agency, which said Schultz was armed with a knife.

The GBI also said on Monday that three suicide notes were recovered from Schultz's dorm.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Bill Schultz said that his child was interested in anti-fascism.

“I will say this, that recently Scout has been slightly involved with the anti-fascist community and had expressed a number of anti-fascist ideas to me,” the dad said.

“I tend to think that if there was a cause it might have been anger at the police over all the shootings and all the long litany of police shootings," he said.

There are two apparent videos of the incident: In one, the shooting was obscured by trees. (Warning: The following two videos may be disturbing to some people.)

video-player.buzzfeed.com

Another video, however, shows Schultz walking slowly toward the officers before being shot.

video-player.buzzfeed.com

"Come on, man, drop the knife," one officer orders at the beginning of the first video that appears to show the shooting. "Come on, let's drop it," another officer echoes.

"Shoot me!" someone who appears to be Schultz responds. The officers continue to order the student to drop the knife. "Nobody wants to hurt you, man," an officer says. Near the end of the footage, an officer again demands "Drop it!" apparently at the same time as a shot is fired at Schultz.

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