Riots break out at vigil for LGBTQ student president shot dead by campus police
Violent protests broke out at a peaceful vigil held for an LGBTQ student who was shot dead by campus police last night (Monday 18).
Scout Schultz, the LGBTQ student president at Georgia Tech University, was shot to death on Saturday night.
The non-binary, bisexual, intersex student was pronounced dead on Saturday night at the hospital after they were shot by campus police.
Students gathered yesterday evening at 8 pm to hold a vigil for Schultz, who was a fourth-year computer engineering student.
They chanted “Who’s tech? Scouts tech” while holding candles in remembrance.
However, the vigil turned violent after an estimated 50 people marched to Georgia Tech Police Headquarters and by 9.30 a riot had broken out.
A police SUV was set on fire and two officers were injured with one requiring medical treatment at the hospital.
Georgia Tech University issued an emergency alert and asked student to stay inside.
Three people were arrested and charged with inciting a riot and battery of an officer, however it is not clear if they were students at the university.
One witness, Kris Harris, said that “it wasn’t Georgia Tech porters it was people outside of Georgia Tech”.
An attorney for the Schultz family issued a statement which asked protests or Scout’s death to “do so peacefully”.
“Scout’s family respects the rights of those who wish to voice opposition to what they feel was an unnecessary use of force, but they ask that it be done respectfully and safely.
“Answering violence with violence is not the answer,” they added. “Our goal is to work diligently to make positive change at Georgia Tech in an effort to ensure a safer campus for all students.”
“This is how we truly honour Scout’s life and legacy”.
Footage of the moment Schultz was shot has emerged online.
It showed the 21-year-old slowly approaching officers. However, they were allegedly armed with a knife.
In the footage, one officer shouts to “drop the knife”.
Scout then retorts “shoot me!” to which an officer says “nobody wants to hurt you”.
In a statement which misgendered Schultz and misspelt their name, Georgia Tech Police Department said it “received a 911 call of a person with a knife and a gun at approximately 11:17 p.m”.
“Officers arrived and made contact with Shultz [sic] who was armed with a knife.
“Officers provided multiple verbal commands and attempted to speak with Shultz [sic] who was not cooperative and would not comply with the officers’ commands.
“Shultz [sic] continued to advance on the officers with the knife.
“Subsequently, one officer fired striking Shultz [sic]. Shultz [sic] was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he [sic] died.”
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is conducting an independent investigation into Scout’s death.
Nelly Miles, who is a spokeswoman for the bureau, said that Schultz was the one to make the 911 call and that they found three suicide notes in their dorm room.
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Schultz’s mother and father have said the incident should not have ended with the death of their child.
Schultz’s father said: “Why did you have to shoot? That’s the question. I mean, that’s the only question that matters right now. Why did you kill my [Schultz]?”
Their mother added: “Why didn’t they use some non-lethal force, like pepper spray or Tasers?”
The Georgia Tech Progressive Student Alliance wrote on Facebook, saying: “We are distraught over the loss of Scout Schultz.
“They were an incredible, inspirational member of our community and a constant fighter for human rights,” they added.