Georgia Tech Protests: Is Campus Safe After Police Shooting of LGBT Student Scout Shultz, Who Called 911?

What had been a peaceful vigil for Georgia Tech student Scout Shultz—who was shot and killed by police after calling 911—ended in scenes of carnage Monday night as protests turned violent on the streets of Atlanta.

One police vehicle was set on fire as protesters clashed with law enforcement. ABC news reported one police officer had to be rushed to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and two others suffered minor wounds.

Read more: Scout Schultz: Why did Georgia police shoot dead Georgia Tech LGBT student leader?

In images shared on social media, flames and smoke were seen billowing out of one police car. In other footage posted online, officers could be seen pinning protesters to the ground, to the cries of onlookers.

Eyewitnesses told CNN the demonstrators had chanted “justice now” as fireworks were set alight, and protesters jumped on a car, smashing its windshield before setting it ablaze. 

Two protesters had their faces covered and one appeared to be holding a pipe. When the police arrived, a core group was arrested. "I saw a couple of students forced to the ground handcuffed. Police were not arresting everyone," an eyewitness said. "They were only after certain people."

Three people were arrested and charged with inciting a riot and battery of an officer, the university later said in a statement.

The Georgia Institute of Technology, which Shultz attended, said some 50 people were involved in the demonstrations, and it characterized them as “violent.” A splinter group of demonstrators marched on the Georgia Tech Police Department immediately after the peaceful vigil.

As the situation escalated, students were told to remain inside and to lock their doors and windows, and those out on campus were instructed by the university to “seek shelter in a secure location until further notice.” Police eventually took back control at 11 p.m., and additional patrols were ordered on campus.

The Washington Post reported that Schultz made the call to campus police, saying a man appeared to be holding a knife. The 21-year-old student had written three suicide notes that were found in a dormitory, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.

Schultz, who led Georgia Tech’s Pride Alliance, was born Scott Schultz, and did not identify as male or female. The victim’s mother, Lynne Schultz, said Schultz was a talented student but suffered from depression and had attempted suicide two years ago.

Shultz told police during the emeregency call that a white male with long blond hair, possibly intoxicated, was holding a knife and was possibly armed with a gun.

Video footage of the ensuing standoff shows Schultz slowly walking toward officers and shouting, “Shoot me.” The officers are heard encouraging Schultz to drop a knife on several occasions. “Nobody wants to hurt you,” one of the officers said at one point in the video.

Following the shooting, investigators found a multi-purpose tool that contained a knife, but no gun. An attorney for the Shultz family has questioned the police officers’ conduct and the circumstances of the shooting.

“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,” said a statement from the attorney, L. Chris Stewart.

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